L'Uomo Volante [The Flying Man]

Marinus Boezem



Collection: De Vleeshal Collection, Middelburg (The Netherlands) (Inv. no. VH0179).

L’Uomo Volante is the title of a performance given by Marinus Boezem in 1979 in the exhibition space of De Vleeshal in Middelburg. The artist was dressed in a strange sort of airman’s suit, here and there adorned with a futile feather. With the help of ropes slung over his shoulders, he holds a large, heavy mirror in uneasy balance. When he can no longer hold the weight, and has to let go, it falls and shatters into dozens of pieces. Boezem’s sculpture had vanished, the bird had flown. The shards remained behind as an installation, each offering a reflection of the De Vleeshal’s gothic ceiling. Photographs were made at different stages of the performance, and these function as autonomous art works. Further, Boezem uses these images in collages. All of these works bear the title L’Uomo Volante. L’Uomo Volante is a key work in the oeuvre of Marinus Boezem, and his leitmotifs come together here. The central one is man’s dream of flying, a universal yearning. It is a desire that since the times of da Vinci has also systematically appeared in art. At the same time, flying is also symbolic of escaping from the conventional artistic framework. Boezem dares to overstep the rules. He is not afraid to let go of tradition and to breathe new, fresh air into ‘exhibition land’. His choice of De Vleeshal was no accident. Boezem likes to refer to the gothic – with its cathedrals, ever-higher towers and arches – as symbol for verticalization. Flight, birds, mirrorings, these are elements that keep popping up anew, in different forms, in Boezem’s work.

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