Hans Theys is a twentieth-century philosopher and art historian. He has written and designed dozens of books on the works of contemporary artists and published hundreds of essays, interviews and reviews in books, catalogues and magazines. All his publications are based on actual collaborations and conversations with artists.

This platform was developed by Evi Bert (M HKA / Centrum Kunstarchieven Vlaanderen) in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp (Research group Archivolt), M HKA, Antwerp and Koen Van der Auwera. We also thank Idris Sevenans (HOR) and Marc Ruyters (Hart Magazine).


Panamarenko - 1990 - True Knowledge [EN, essay]
Text , 1 p.


Hans Theys


(A Concise History of Art)

Around that planet with its liquid inside and hardened outside, it was teeming with fluid and gaseous substances. And then you had those creatures. Some of them moving about in the fluid and some in the gaseous substances. And some of them just plottered about on the hard crust, not really knowing what or where, living with their heads up in those gasses, sometimes just paddling around a bit on the surface of this liquid teeming.

Until one day, one of those plottering, gas needing creatures, someone who loved all those other creatures moving about in those liquids, found the perfect way to plummet straight down into the depths, carrying his gas with him in metal bottles.

Indescribable hordes of schoolmasters appeared from underneath flat stones to write thick volumes and proclaim this new doctrine everywhere. As from that moment on, diving  and divers  existed, everybody knew how one was supposed to dive, and indeed, even knew what diving was. But the inventor himself was no diver. He was merely somebody who enjoyed studying these teeming liquids and therefore had had to find a way to stay deep down for a long time.

Official and Learned Divers, using these now Official Metal Bottles because they loved to pretend to be looking for ship wrecks, secret weapons or stonefish, didn’t have the faintest idea how complex the rolling, tugging and crushing masses and the ingenuity of the inventor’s solutions were. They who wanted to know something, had to forget everything, and try everything again themselves.

Montagne de Miel, 6 January 1990