Installation Guidelines (2006)
creator(s) S.M.A.K., Ghent

The Aeromodeller has been exhibited on a variety of different occasions (see History of the Aeromodeller).
The balloon was originally inflated with an old ventilator fan (VOG type 4VBC 714, 230V mono 2.9 AMP, 0.37 kW, 50 Hz, speed 1410 RPM) and it was lifted by a number of different ropes. Some of these ropes were tied to the ceiling of the exhibition spaces. The height of the balloon changed in conformity to the different exhibition spaces. The gondola was tied with different ropes to the suspension points on the balloon. The gondola rested on a wooden frame, which originally was a single piece.

In some exhibitions the balloon was displayed on the floor, close to the gondola. This happened, for example, in 1993 at Amiens and in 1998 at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. In Paris the balloon was lifted just a bit from the floor level. The gondola was tied to the balloon and placed beside it. The last time the artwork was exhibited before its restoration was in 2002 at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. There, the balloon was tied to the ceiling and the gondola was placed under it. To connect the balloon to the ceiling and to hold the balloon up in the air, two ropes were put around the balloon. The whole structure needed extra support, so nylon ropes coming from the suspension points were also tied to the ceiling.

From September 30, 2005 to January 29, 2006, the Aeromodeller was on exhibit in the “Panamarenko: The Retrospective!” exhibition at the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. The artwork was placed in the centre of a large hall, tied to the ceiling with ropes. The gondola was installed under the balloon, and the two were connected to each other with ropes.

The gondola, which was installed first, was placed on a new wooden frame, composed of five different panels - one for each section of the gondola. Each cane section was screwed onto the corresponding panel of the frame. The panels were attached to each other with a metal system. There is an eye screw in each of the four corners of each panel. When the two panels are placed next to each other, a threaded rod is put through the corresponding eye screws of the two plates. The threaded rod is fixed in place with a butterfly nut on each end. In this way it is possible to connect the five panels. When the five parts of the frame are connected to each other, as well as to the five sections of the gondola, it is easier to move the gondola. The frame also has metal wheels underneath for ease of movement. The five sections of the gondola are connected to each other with corresponding pairs of rectangular metal plates: bolts go through the holes of two corresponding metal plates and each bolt is secured with a nut. The metal structure was placed on the inside of the cabin to support the gondola.

The balloon was inflated with air by a new ventilator pump. This new ventilator pump was also used for inflating the air bows during the restoration [HADEK, AOM0150 (EU), 220 – 240V, 1.1 kW, 1.5 HP, speed 2800 RPM, product A0004 GB0]. The old ventilator pump did not comply with the new security norms. The new pump is controlled by a frequency regulator, which regulates the airflow. This frequency regulator was placed in a room under the exhibition hall and it was connected directly with the ventilator pump by some wires that exit through the floor under the gondola.

Four ropes went around the balloon and were connected to the ceiling. In the past there were just two ropes used to tie the structure to the ceiling. These ropes were attached to the suspension points and then connected to the ceiling. Now, to support the whole structure and to use the original suspension points as little as possible, we decided to place four ropes around the balloon. In the past the balloon was pulled into the air, using the ropes that were connected to the suspension points. This action damaged the suspension points a lot. After the restoration, in order to prevent damage to the balloon, we used a black webbing net to pull it into the air. This net is 10.82 meters wide and about 20 meters long. On the long sides there are twenty ropes attached. These ropes end in a ring to connect the net to a pulley placed on the ceiling. There were 10 pulleys on the ceiling in the hall of the Royal Museum in Brussels. The four ropes attached to the pulleys on the ceiling were placed on the net and the balloon was placed on them. Some ropes from the net were also tied to different pulleys and then the structure was lifted. At the appropriate height, the four ropes were locked onto the pulley and the net was removed. Nine ropes from the suspension points were connected to the pulley on the ceiling to hold the balloon in place and divide the pressure. The same net was used for the reinstallation of the artwork.

Once the balloon was installed in the right place, the gondola was put in position. The gondola was tied to the balloon with 30 ropes connected to the suspension points.

Transporting the crates
All the crates are transported from the S.M.A.K. Museum to the institution that has requested the loan. The various sections of the Aeromodeller are packed into a number of crates, as listed in the overview below:

1. the balloon 1 crate
2. the gondola 5 crates
3. the propellers and fire protection clothes 1 crate
4. the old pump 1 crate
5. the jerrycans 1 crate
6. the structure for the propellers no crate
7. the new pump and frequency– regulator no crate

Guidelines for the exhibition space
To install the artwork in the correct way, we need an exhibition space that is big enough. The gallery has to be at least 10 metres high, 30 metres long and 10 metres wide. Before installing “The Aeromodeller” it is necessary to take a close look at the plans of the gallery space, considering the dimensions of the artwork. Drawings with the artwork dimensions can be found enclosed. As an example, the situation in Brussels has also been drawn up and included in the diagrams

Technical aspects of the exhibition space
The balloon should hang from the ceiling. It is important that the architecture of the exhibition room and its possibilities be checked. For each gallery we have to determine whether the ceiling is strong enough, whether pulleys can be attached and what number of pulleys is possible.

The installation of the “The Aeromodeller”
Before installing the Aeromodeller, the installation video must be viewed. This video provides all the instructions that are necessary for a successful installation. Click download.

VIDEO MATERIAL: “The Aeromodeller” of Panamarenko, Installation Process in Brussels, 2005, DVD, format: Bitstream Visual, 2005, S.M.A.K. archive.


Attribution Non-commercial