A propeller as the end of art? An architect who wanted to bomb away his hometown? An artist who dreamed of swimming in the air? In this original and thoughtful examination Jyrki Siukonen offers stunning glimpses into the history of art and flying machines.
Mankind’s perennial dream of flight has found its expression in numerous ingenious contraptions failing to fly. Siukonen studies some of the finest examples, such as Clément Ader’s steam-powered Avion III, the gold medal winner of the 1900 Universal Exhibition, and Vladimir Tatlin’s Letatlin, the ornithopter that made its way to the history of modern art. The dream of flight is also the backcloth against which Siukonen pursues a range of surprising questions about the ideas of the renowned masters of modern architecture, Alvar Aalto and Le Corbusier, and introduces the utopian strain in the writings of the poet Velimir Khlebnikov.
Uplifted Spirits, Earthbound Machines differs from previous discussions of machine aesthetics in looking at the material from an artistic rather than from art historical perspective. The result is a fascinating and moving study, welcomed by all readers interested in the byways of art and aeronautics.