Ai Weiwei’s Forever Bicycles in Toronto

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It was a bit after I saw a photo posted by Kristen Fung on her Instagram that I decided to make a detour to check out Ai Weiwei’s art installation before hopping on my bus back to Montreal.

The thing was smaller than I imagined it from pictures seen online (really). A nearby stand labelled Forever Bicycles (aka Yong Jiu 永久) as conceptual art. It was re-exposed, grander than the one in Taipei, for the Toronto Nuit Blanche last week. It seems a lot more dramatic too without the dark rubber tires, with only the pure, cold metal in the Toronto version.

You can peek in and even walk under the metal structure composed of several dozens (probably hundreds) of superimposed bicycle frames, or parts of bicycle frames.

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There was something really invigorating to watch the succession and repetition ad nauseam of regular forms (triangles, circles, arcs that make up circles), like you would often see in a data visualisation with lots and lots of data.

The message, if there is one, probably lies instead in the composition of the sculpture: bicycles, symbol of the pre-economic boom China, dismembered and reassembled into what looks like nothing, but that is grandiose to look at. Wat?

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See the entire set on Flickr

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