That magnificent man and his flying machines: Panamarenko retrospective, M HKA (Antwerp)

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It reminded me of the days I was fascinated by Apollo and Saturn spacecrafts, was building Airfix airplanes and was playing with an ‘electronics for kids’-set. A boy’s thing, this exhibition? I don’t think so. It’s simply impossible not to like Panamarenko, one of Belgium’s most peculiar artists, now 74, and a man who has stopped creating new work in 2005. Panamarenko Universum (through February 2, 2015) is his unique comeback to Antwerp, the city where he was born. The retrospective at M HKA comprises some 40 key works, and lots of drawings, maquettes and objects, presented in 7 thematic clusters, and is bound to be a hit with a broader audience. Can’t make it to Belgium? Then order the English version of the wonderful catalogue (published by Ludion) or check M HKA’s online platform where you’ll find 1.750 Panamarenko related items. My favorite? That fragile, helpless looking robot called Arlikoop. If I could, I’d adopt him. Oh, and the title of this post? A respectful nod to that 1965 British comedy about flying machines I used to love as a kid.

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