Das Militär

Zwitsersefiets2 31

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The military references that occur throughout Panamarenko’s oeuvre arise out of childhood memories of WWII. In the drawings of the Barada Jet ((V1) we see, at the rear of the fuselage, a classic reaction engine that looks like a German V1. This is a clear reference to the artist’s wartime childhood. In his first exhibition at the C.A.W. (Comité voor Artistieke Werking) in Antwerp, Panamarenko showed Koperen plaatjes met kogelgaten (Copper plates with bullet-holes), a work of chance whose title leaves nothing to the imagination. During the Antwerp happenings in the 1960s, Panamarenko regularly appeared in a general’s uniform or pilot’s outfit, with a Russian cap on his head. In the years that followed he referred to military jargon in words and images. The uniformed figures that occasionally make use of his devices were invariably fitted out with a helmet, goggles or a water bottle.

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