Born in Antwerp (Belgium) in 1940 and lives and works in Antwerp.
As a designer and inventor, since 1967 Panamarenko has devoted himself to the invention of flying machines, in which he is seeking to replace horsepower with human power. This original process, on the boundaries of art and science, (not unlike the work of certain famous forerunners such as Tatlin and Leonardo da Vinci…) cannot be reduced to being just a simple alternative. The rules governing the building of these strange machines have nothing to do with aesthetic form-based or ‘poetic’ concerns. Rather they result on one hand from a precise observation of living mechanisms (flight by the flapping of wings) and on the other hand pure invention, both subject to a highly logical mental process and relentless technical rigour.
Therefore, the question of whether the objects Panamarenko builds could work, as is demanded of the designs made by engineers, loses all importance. Panamarenko’s behaviour is that of a researcher seeking to discover new ways, different approaches that other people may not have considered, to create technical objects which are based on unexplored possibilities. In doing so Panamarenko puts himself firmly within the world of science and transmits the essence of his own artistic process to this world.