Mario Terzic

My Wings, 1970

My Wings, which was shown in 1970 at the Nächst St. Stephan Gallery in Vienna, then at the VIIth Paris Biennale in 1971, presents Mario Terzic himself in a performance in which he mimes an attempt to fly. A lone man, seen from behind, clad in an aviator’s uniform, signals that he wants to take flight by flapping two large wings harnessed to his arms. The heavy and pernicious movement is broken down into four tempos and holds out no hope that the man will ever take off. On the contrary, the arched body, stretched skywards, takes root in the ground with all its weight; it refers more to the fall of the American soldier in the propaganda poster “Why?” (which had a lot of media coverage in the 1970s) than to the lightness of a body freed from gravity. My Wings is an allegorical, Baudelairean work expressing the hope of a man who, filled with the dream of Icarus, tries to escape from a battlefield bristling with barbed wire, a metaphor of the infernal labyrinth which Daedalus had himself designed and made.  This hybrid work by Mario Terzic, devised in an artisanal way with the feathers of large sea birds, thus refers to the tragic fate of Icarus, and the vain hope of becoming free from the violence of the world, in spite of the span of the wings (approximately 3.5 metres/ 11 feet) and the reliability of the systems fastening them to the arms.  If Terzic’s work thus conjures up the figure of the angel and Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machines, and if it echoes the contemporary works of Rebecca Horn, Panamarenko and Gino de Dominicis, it also questions the place of the body in space and in the world, a line of thought which here takes on the dimension of a mystical quest. 

Nadine Labedade

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