Video Interview With Philippe Petit: Man On Wire And His Art

by Ross Kenneth Urken · December 20, 2010

    Philippe Petit, the high-wire artist most famous for tight-rope walking between the Twin Towers in 1974 (the subject of the movie "Man on Wire"),  was at Clic Gallery  last week  for a holiday reception for LINE UP, an exhibition featuring drawings by Petit and photographs by Victoria Dearing. Eli Obus's video captures Petit as he discusses his current plans for involvement with the Freedom Tower and his life philosophy.

    Petit reveals a little bit of disappointment that he would not be able to tight-rope walk the Freedom Tower given that it's a single entity; however, he expressed a willingness to participate in the opening celebrations.

    His drawings, which were on display and sometimes hung off-kilter, reveal a professional obsession with the intricacies of ropes; his detailed sketches demonstrate an expert's eye with relation to the turns and knots of cords, the woven bristles, and the tautness of the wires.

    "It's my domain," he said of the knots he's drawn. "I know the ropes."

    Though Petit refused to show me some basic high-wire tricks, he did mark himself as the supreme optimist, arguing that anything is possible for everyone in the world.