Email that features photographs of a man apparently defying gravity by holding himself aloft with just one hand against a wall claims that the man is a German street performer named Johan Lorbeere.
Subject: FW: Unreal!Maybe we are entering into the new dimensions of reality…
Johan Lorbeer is a German street performer. He became famous in the past few years because of his ‘Still-Life’ Performances, which took place in the public area. His installations includes ‘Proletarian Mural’ and ‘Tarzan’, which are famous in Germany. Several of these performances feature Lorbeer in an apparently impossible position.
The intriguing photographs above are just three in a lengthy sequence that are currently circulating via email and are also a popular topic for blog and forum posts. According to the message that comes with the pictures, they depict an amazing German street performer named Johan Lorbeer who appears to defy the laws of gravity by suspending himself with just one arm from a wall. The images are certainly intriguing enough to make most viewers do a double take, and, as usual, some “expert” commentators have suggested that they have been manipulated in Photoshop or a similar program.
However, the images are genuine and the man in the photographs is indeed Johan Lorbeer. Lorbeer is a popular and well-respected performance artist in Germany. Although his stunts are certainly spectacular, there is no magic involved, nor is Mr Lorbeer somehow bending the laws of physics. He is, however, a very skilled illusionist. As well as pleasing crowds with his popular street performances, Lorbeer has also exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt and at various other festivals and galleries. A profile of the artist on donaufestival.at notes:
With his still-life performances, the German artist Johan Lorbeer seems to unhinge the laws of gravity. For hours on time, he remains, as a living work of art, in physically impossible positions. Elevated or reduced to the state of a sculpture, he interacts with the bewildered and irritated audience, whose appetite for communication rises as time goes by, often culminating in the wish to touch the artist in his superhuman, angelic appearance in order to participate in his abilities.
So how does Lorbeer achieve his exhibits? Well, such things are perhaps more fun if left unexplained and thus open for speculation. But if you really want to know, a blog entry on Ah Boon.net includes a small photograph that should provide a useful hint. Scroll down past the series of photographs showing Lorbeer’s performances to locate the spoiler.
There are also several YouTube videos featuring Johan Lorbeer, including the one below:
Last updated: 4th July 2008
First published: 4th July 2008
By Brett M. Christensen