The World From Above
The bird’s eye perspective in art

11.10.2013 – 12.01.2014

For centuries Man was driven by the idea of freeing himself from the ground, soaring into the air and viewing the world from the sky. Being bound to the earth was felt as a limitation and escaping from it was associated with the idea of power and control.

In the imagination the sky was reserved for the gods who were challenged by the human hubris to rise up to them. The Fall of Icarus constituted a powerful precedence for those who wanted to move in the spheres reserved for the gods. For a long time the view from above remained a divine privilege. For Man this perspective was only possible with the aid of works of art.

However, as the first balloons lifted off into the air at the end of the eighteenth century, the gods had to share the sky with Man. Since then, in addition to ever new technical and aeronautical records, the aviation pioneers assailing the heavens have also brought back totally new pictures from their flights. It was a fundamentally new experience to have to learn to read the world when seen from above as a collection of patterns, lines and shading.

This had an enormous impact on the way the world and our position in it was seen, providing important stimuli for twentieth century culture in particular. Thus painting responded to the new photographic possibilities with the invention of abstraction on the one hand, and demanded from its viewers on the other hand the interpretation of patterns and areas of colour like a pilot. The central perspective of the Renaissance lost its importance, and the bird’s eye perspective began a triumphal march. Today it is ever present not only in art. Satellites monitor the data streams and traffic flows on the Earth, and drones overfly the remotest territories. Art also reacts to this by critically recording the new perspectives, and reviewing them in photographs, video films and installations.

The exhibition "THE WORLD FROM ABOVE – The bird’s eye perspective in art" in the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen attempts, with the aid of selected works of art, to trace these relationships of technical and artistic innovation, and to show the great influence of art on our perception of the world.

The artists presented are Max Ackermann, Thom Barth, Armin Boehm, Andreas Feininger, Leonie Felle, Christoph Gielen, Johanna Jaeger, Achim Mohné & Uta Kopp, Junebum Park, Mady Piesold, Christian Ring, Pat Rosenmeier, Marcus Schwier, Conrad Sevens, Eduard Spelterini, Anton Stankowski and Wladimir Tatlin & Jürgen Steger.

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