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Panamarenko



1940

Henry van Herwegen - (b Antwerp, 5 Feb 1940). Belgian conceptual artist. He adopted the pseudonym Panamarenko at the outset of his artistic career. He studied at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp (1955–60), and at the National Hoger Instituut, Antwerp (1962–4). He was active in various Happenings in Antwerp between 1964 and 1966. From 1966 to 1968 he made what he called ‘poetic objects’, which included such quiet, contemplative works as Snow (leather bag, rubber boots, twigs and snow), and Moths in Reeds (moths, reeds and motor), and also a large, bicycle-driven structure, Aeroplane (aluminium and mixed media), From 1968 he concentrated on building flying machines, particularly man-powered machines. One of his most important works of this kind is The Aeromodeller (wood, metal, PVC balloon and four motors),which he built himself between 1969 and 1971 and claimed as a new, low-cost prototype airship. An attempt to fly it in 1971 ended in failure, as did all his other attempts to get his home-made machines into the air. After 1976 he concentrated on exploring the technical possibilities of electromagnetic spacecraft, producing theoretical studies involving large-scale calculations. He also produced several functioning models. Although his imaginative structures frequently appear amateurish and odd, the poetry in Panamarenko’s works stems from the breadth of his technical and scientific vision.

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