Monday, February 16, 2009

Spiderman lives... but miracles are not that easy to come by

A large crowd gathered and many eyebrows were raised over the weekend outside Madrid's Atocha railway station, when a man was seen stuck to a wall, like Spiderman!

Some spoke of 'a miracle' while others just watched on, commenting in bemusement as the man appeared to lean against the wall with one hand, magically suspended above the pavement.

It was some time before all was revealed.

This was another stunt by 'installation artist' Johan Lorbeer, who had harnessed himself to a fake hand secured high off the ground to the wall. On this ocassion, the emergency services were not called, as has happened elsewhere, during this well known street artist's performances around the world.

Johan Lorbeer is a German street performer. He has become famous over the last few years because of his 'Still-Life' Performances, which take place in public areas.

His installations (which can be seen on his website) include 'Proletarian Mural' and 'Tarzan'. Several of these performances feature Lorbeer in an apparently impossible position such as a street cleaner standing horizontally out from a wall high above the street, or standing in mid-air 'leaning' against a wall with one hand, as in this instance in Madrid.

His work hasn't always amused or gone down too well. In Cairo in November 2008, an Egyptian passer-by said "the German is laughing at us", as he turned away with a derisive snort!

How he does it

Although this trick seems genuine, it is not magic. Lorbeer manages these positions by hiding his actual arm under his clothing and the 'arm' that is seen sticking to the wall is in fact a metal support bar.

I am indebted to Sancho, blogging over at Tilting at Windmills, for this interesting and amusing story. Oh and Sancho... blogging on Sunday (a holy day of obligation I know) is allowed! :)