Chris Burden, The Flying Steamroller, 1996
A 12 ton steamroller
The American artist Chris Burden’s The Flying Steamroller is not a work one overlooks. The monumental sculpture consists of a 12 ton steamroller attached to a steel arm with an enormous counterweight of cement blocks.
Sculpture and performance
The work is a combination of sculpture and performance, as it is operated by a driver every half hour who clambers onto it and starts it up. Then it drives in circles until it reaches its top speed, when it defies its weight and takes off. The steamroller continues flying round in circles for a couple of minutes, until it slowly loses speed and height and lands again. When the steamroller has come to a complete halt, the driver gets out and does not return again until the performance is repeated.
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