The 5 best bicycles of contemporary art

The bicycle was first invented in the mid 1800s, and even if it wasn’t a great revolution for mass transportation in the beginning, it made it possible for almost anyone to move around freely and independently faster than on foot and more economically than with other transportation methods

The bicycle is a method of transportation, but also a means of freedom, independence and passion. Most of us connect the image of the bicycle to memories from the past, those of learning to balance on two wheels as a child, a great achievement. The bicycle is perhaps everyone’s first memory of freedom. And maybe it’s because of this memory that many artists have used it as a starting point for artworks, sculptures and installations. Here there are five of them.

The 5 best bicycles of contemporary art - Four bicycles, Gabriel Orozco Four bicycles, Gabriel Orozco
You can classify it within those sculptures that in artistic jargon are defined as Readymade, or a specific object that is de-contextualized and put into an art system, losing their original particular function. Four bicycles is an absolute example of this, several bicycles are fused together, the object’s form and function are lost giving birth to a new decentralized form that allows the eye to wander around in all directions, creating a sense of confusion in the viewer, but at the same time a great aesthetic pleasure.
The 5 best bicycles of contemporary art - Bicycles Forever, Ai Weiwei Bicycles Forever, Ai Weiwei
More than a sculpture, Ai Weiwei’s artwork is an immense installation that takes its name from the brand of the bicycles he used to create it. It was exhibited in 2013 in a plaza in Toronto. It’s an assembly and fusion of more than 3,000 frameworks. This isn’t the first time that the artists has used this type of object to express himself, but it’s maybe the first time in which he went beyond every visual as well as aesthetic limit. The effect of the whole that is created brings the eye to get lost inside the infinity, alternated with full and empty spaces. The artwork creates a perspective where the huge line of bicycles seems to never end and you almost lose sight of what the matrix is: the bicycle. It’s an artwork of strong symbolic character that symbolizes the imminent and continuous change of Chinese society.
The 5 best bicycles of contemporary art - Mirror bicycles, Olafur Eliasson Mirror bicycles, Olafur Eliasson
As of always, Olafur Eliasson sees urban spaces as a place of experimentation and socialization. With this in mind he created a series of bicycles where instead of tire spokes there’s reflective plexiglass that creates round mirrors that reflect small portions of the surrounding urban space, thus creating an optical illusion of depth and continuity as if the space expanded into infinity beyond the bicycle’s wheels.
The 5 best bicycles of contemporary art - Testa Ciclica, Marepee Testa Ciclica, Marepee
It’s part of a series of sculptures that were created with the combination and interaction of everyday objects and widely used simple materials. This type of artwork has a clear poetic potential for the artist and the objects have a great power of transformation. This type of transformation has as a final objective that of obtaining great visual effects and the result is a hybrid of creative and figurative potential.
The 5 best bicycles of contemporary art - Les Bikes de Bois Rond, Gavin Turk Les Bikes de Bois Rond, Gavin Turk
The artist created a series of 15 bicycles with crazy and wild characteristics for an international art fair. The aesthetics of the bicycles are a homage to a Polish conceptual artist that was very dear to Gavin Turk, who created decorated walking sticks with colored stripes. The use of the bicycle in Gavin Turk’s work is due to the fact the he’s a great fan of bikes, so much that he has defined the Bike tour as an “artwork”. Furthermore, he says that “riding a bike is the moment when you can access other parts of the mind”.
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