previews

  • “Panamarenko Universe”

    Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA)
    Leuvenstraat 32
    October 3, 2014–February 22, 2015

    Curated by Hans Willemse with Panamarenko

    Buckminster Fuller made civil engineering utopian, but Panamarenko made it weird. In the 1960s, the Belgian artist turned from proto-Conceptual assemblages to a design problem that would consume the rest of his career: the invention of experimental flying machines. By turns absurd and monumental, his constructions borrowed from the aerodynamics of blimps, hot-air balloons, cocoons, gondolas, race cars, winged fauna, and parachutes; from Skylab, Pan Am, Leonardo, Utopie, jet propulsion, and satellites. He even tried to fly one such zeppelin, the Aeromodeller, to a Dutch sculpture park in 1971 (with harrowing results). Such pneumatic forays paralleled many contemporaneous explorations of space, speed, and the expanded field of art; this retrospective of the artist—whose own domicile recently reopened as a historic site in Antwerp—brings together some sixty of his works and dirigibles, demonstrating that Panamarenko went farther and faster than most.