Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 175 - 7 March 2020

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 450

Panamarenko (Belgium / 1940 - 2019)
Magnetic fields (1979)


€ 55 000 - 65 000

"La collection du Musée d'Art Contemporain de Gand. L'Arte Povera, l'art conceptuel et les mythologies individuelles en Europe" Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montréal 1983
"De verzameling van het MHK, Gent" RMS, Balen 1984 "Le plein vert" Cayeux-sur-Mer 1984
"Panamarenko. Arbeiten 1966-1985" Städtisches Bodensee Museum, Friedrichshafen 1985, nr. 25
"Panamarenko. Een overzicht 1965-1985" M HKA, Antwerp 1989, nr. 33
"Panamarenko" Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuyama, Kamakura 1992-93, nr. 28
"Panamarenko, de retrospectieve" KMSKB, Brussels 2006, exhibition cat., nr. 32 reprod.
"Panamarenko Universum" M HKA, Antwerp 2014-15, exhibition cat., p. 122 reprod.
"Panamarenko. A Book by Hans Theys" Published by Frank Van Haecke & Isy Brachot 1992, nr. 79 reprod.
"Panamarenko" Jon Thompson, Ludion 2001

“You want to make a submarine? Make yourself a submarine, but don't turn it into a little artsy submarine. In the end, it may well be that it won't function at all, but that isn't the point. The thing is that you respect the nature of such a machine. It isn't a sculpture-submarine, it isn't an oil-on-canvas-submarine. Because you made it, you who are crazy about submarines, that submarine carries in it The Submarine, just like those other things carry in them The Plane."

Panamarenko will be engraved forever in our collective memory as the eccentric artist-inventor-explorer who wants to rise up in the air. His universe is made of hard science, a large dose of imagination and infectious enthusiasm. He develops devices with all sorts of flying options. The suggestion of possibility is of vital importance, but the question of whether the devices actually work or not is irrelevant. Panamarenko's ‘inventions' are adventures: the process of exploration and experimentation is more important than the final result.
During this process, Panamarenko makes studies, sketches, models, prototypes, etc. that are often physically part of a bigger project. Because of that particular connection, he creates a narrative with his own terminology and iconography. This way he organizes his oeuvre, and simultaneously consolidates the credibility of his slightly dubious creations to the skeptical, practical viewer.

Two important parts of two of Panamarenko's iconic projects are included in this auction. "Magnetic fields" (1979, lot 450) is part of the overall project ‘Journey to the stars'. "Pastille Motor nr 5" (1987, lot 509) came about in his research for the driving mechanism of the ‘backpack planes' he developed on the Furka Pass at the end of the 1980s. These objects are crafted with primitive materials, but nevertheless their implementation is based on scientific research. They carry with them the hope of achieving the impossible, which makes them extraordinarily poetic.


“Real space travel stands or falls with rocket technology, because that is the only principle that works in space. In my opinion, in order to boost up space travel again, we must look into the already existing interplanetary forces of the universe. One of these forces in particular seems extremely interesting to me: the magnetic fields."

In preparation for the construction of a large interstellar magnetic spaceship, Panamarenko started his search in the mid-1970s for energy sources that were powerful enough to get a flying saucer out of the atmosphere and beyond the reach of gravity. An experiment from 1979 that he calls "Magnetic Fields" shows that an electromagnetic drive offers the greatest chance of success. In 1979 he built a first test set-up on a wooden table with capacitors and copper coils. To get to know the functioning of magnetic fields and other interplanetary forces, he delves deeper into ufology and electromagnetism, which ultimately results in the project ‘Journey to the stars'. It's the name for a variety of flying and floating dishes he designs. He gradually develops space theories and bundles them as ‘Toymodel of Space. ("Panamarenko Universum" M HKA, Antwerp 2014-15, exhibition catalogue p. 122)?

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