Icarus of the Lautertal

Gustav Mesmer, also known as the “Icarus of the Lautertal”, was a German schizophrenic artist who spent much of his life designing human-powered flying machines. He has been championed by curators as an outsider artist, while his theories about improving aerodynamics through wing and sail piercings have been of interest to scientists. Impelled by his creativity and his wish to overcome the wall between him and the world, he evolved the utopia of man’s flight. Mesmer spend a total of 35 years in mental institutions before finally being released in 1964. After this date he commited himself to create fantastical flying bicycles with swinging wings made out of plastic bags and willow branches in order to “ride from village to village through the air”. Adorned in a self-made helmet and shoulder pads, like a knight of the dumpster, Mesmer would pedal down steep hills in search of altitude. He never left the ground physically, but spiritually he soared.





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