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Photo number:
Photo #151468

James Angus

Bicycles, 2008

"In this sculpture, James Angus presents a bicycle as an aesthetic object; a geometry of circles, diagonals and straight lines in a design of pure and precise functionalism. Only the essential elements of bicycle design are present here – there are no mudguards, panniers, lights or bells to distract from its elegant engineering. The design of this bicycle is one that has remained relatively unchanged since its invention more than 100 years ago, when the upright safety bicycle superseded the penny-farthing. The classic frame of Angus’ sculpture is of the same kind as the British Raleigh Roadster, the Chinese Flying Pigeon and the Dutch Opafiets – objects of mass-production and transportation that have been integral to ways of life and culture for decades.

For this handcrafted sculpture, Angus melded the frames of three bicycles into one, creating a kind of platonic ideal of bike design which resolves slight differences in thickness of truss, angles of frame and fork, shape of saddle and handlebar position into an ideal form – one that seems to shift between the plural and the singular. Traces of all three bikes inhabit this final rendition, with its tripled wheel spokes and chain drive, contoured saddle and ridged handlebars.

Hovering between three sets of dimensions and proportions, the sculpture presents a visual experience akin to looking at lenticular imagery or to a stereoscopic gaze, in which two sets of slightly disparate visual information are resolved into the one three-dimensional image. These subtle differences, inhabiting the one object, speak of the slight variations between not only bikes but individual riders, for whom the bike is an extension of their body shape, size and movement. In keeping with his other works, which have distorted, shifted and played with elements of design from architecture to automobiles, Angus disrupts our expectations of an everyday object. By making us look again he reminds us that a bicycle, like a racing car, is a moving sculpture."

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