Panamarenko was born in 1940 in Antwerp as Henri Van Herwegen. He invented his pseudonym as a play on Pan American Airlines and Ponomarenko, a former Soviet statesman. A testament to his enigmatic and innovative nature, his name, and his fantastical creations, became characteristic of the legendary artist. He died in 2019 in Brakel, Belgium.


As an artist, engineer, physicist, inventor and visionary, Panamarenko conducted exceptional research into concepts such as space, motion, flight, energy and gravitation. His work is a combination of artistic and technological experimentation, taking various forms: airplanes, submarines, cars, flying carpets and birds. Panamarenko succeeded in linking the technical-scientific to the poetic; his artworks are not the mere creations of an engineer, and his poetic objects are indeed underpinned by thorough scientific knowledge. Through his unbridled imagination, Panamarenko dealt with the rules, laws, and usages of science, art, and society in an innovative and entirely free manner, resulting in an almost mythical uniqueness.


Panamarenko first presented his work Flugzeug in the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in 1968 by invitation of Joseph Beuys. In 1972, his work Aeromodeller was presented at Dokumenta V in Kassel, where he also took part in the later editions in 1977 and 1992. In 1981, his work Aeromodeller was featured at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His first retrospective was held in Munich in 1982, followed by a second in 1998 in the Fondation Cartier in Paris. Other major solo exhibitions include those at the Museum Tinguely (Basel, Switzerland), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain), Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (Brussels, Belgium), FRAC Nord – Pas de Calais (Dunkerque, France) and MHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art (Antwerp, Belgium).

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Selected Works


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