Panamarenko (1940-2019) is one of the most remarkable Belgian artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He was at the same time inventor, engineer, poet, physicist and visionary. In his work, art and technology come together in the form of poetic and ingenious constructions such as airplanes, cars, zeppelins, flying saucers, backpack helicopters, submarines and walking birds.
This presentation brings together several 'transport objects', including Prova Car (1967), a masterpiece from the Flemish Community Collection. The Prova Car is a human, poetic version of a Formula One car. Panamarenko strives for innovation and efficiency. For example, he designs zeppelins that can 'safely' collide in the atmosphere and 'backpack' helicopters that allow you to take off vertically in the city. With its smaller front wheel, the Zwitserse fiets (1967) or 'Swiss bicycle' has been developed for efficient climbing in the mountains. With the submarine Panama (1996), Panamarenko wants to cross from the Barents Sea to the North Pole. And the imposing spacecraft Bing of the Ferro Lusto (1997) serves to navigate between the magnetic fields in the cosmos. All these flying, sailing, driving or floating devices testify to an inexhaustible urge for daring and adventure. Even a carbine with high displacement speed is part of that.
Today, the M HKA manages the legendary Panamarenko House in Antwerp neighbourhood Seefhoek, and takes care of the Panamarenko Archive. The M HKA is preparing its collection for the new museum, that will open in 2030. In this process, Panamarenko is central, which will also be visible in the future permanent collection presentation. Crucial to his ensemble is the masterpiece acquired by the Flemish Community. An important work was added this year: for its City Collection of contemporary art, Antwerp bought the 1984 Rugzakvlucht 4KW [Backpack Flight 4KW], the backpack motor that is being presented here for the first time.