A Change of Scenery: The Decorative Bicycle
The bicycle is the prefect machine, it is the most efficient and effective people mover ever created. The simple and elegant diamond frame design has gone more or less unaltered for the past century or more. Though a variety of materials have been explored, some working better than others, the overall style and design of the bicycle remains very similar to its early days. We see these objects around us constantly, locked up on a sidewalk, flying through city streets, though rarely are most of us offered the chance to see them in isolation.
This was the starting point for the Change of Scenery show. The bicycle, removed from its traditional space and function which for many is a lower class working tool, here is given the higher status of a decorative object. These bicycle frames broken, bent and retired from their former use, hang on the wall like a finely made tapestry or painting. They’ve been straightened, superficially repaired and decorated hiding the abuse they received in their former lives. They now have patterned, floral and striped skins giving us a sense of their greater value. These three frames were made in Italy, by hand and constructed with care, other frames have been mass produced in China or England with less care but could hang on the wall with equal importance. More than the fine crafting or more currently their laboured over finishes, these hang on the wall as symbols. They are objects we should be familiar with and surrounded by. They suggest a way of life. They are a social tool, they are objects to be decorated and fussed over like any other and they are the most efficient and effective people mover ever created.
The first Change of Scenery show was mounted at Distill Gallery in the distillery district of Toronto. Later the show was re-mounted at La Carrera Cycles with additional work and in partnership with Suzanne Carlsen the maker of many amazing Craft, cycling and design objects. Some of the pieces in this second exhibition were also featured in the Couldn’t We Ride group show at Quirk Gallery in Richmond, Virginia.