Panamarenko, Polistes, 1974

The idea of a rubber racing car, which simply bounces off on impact, eventually led to this work by the young belgium artist Panamarenko. It was made at the property of Dutch art collector family Visser and now belongs to the collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. The large scale sculpture was formed in a mould with Polyurethane foam an Polyurethane rubber. After curing, the soft shape was placed over a metal frame with real car tyres. Although behind the windscreen there is a pilot seat with a stearing wheel, the air propellers with motors have never actually worked. The car, which was named after the shiny wasps of the cosmopolitan genus Polistes, never actually drove. Conservation treatment took place in front of the public, in the gallery spaces in 2003. The artist was invited and interviewed near his work. The project included another very large sculpture, Continental Aeroplane, as well as multiple smaller sculptures by Panamarenko from the late 1960s and early 1970s. The project was presented at the IIC 20th International Congress, see also: “Operation Panamarenko”, Modern Art, New Museums, ed. Ashok Roy und Perry Smith, IIC 20th International Congress, London/Bilbao (2004), p. 82-85.

Photo: Kröller-Müller Museum, Ralph Kaemena (2003)
Project description on the Kröller-Müller Museum website