2021 brought about the return of the Philly Bike Expo after a year-long hiatus due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve got a lot of coverage on the way sporadically, thanks to Jarrod Bunk of Hope Cyclery but we really want to share the People’s Choice Winner: Jaqueline Mautner from Untitled Cycles‘ Sophie Taeuber-Arp homage gravel bike with SRAM AXS EXPLR, so read on below for a synopsis of this project by Jacqueline Mautner and plenty of beautiful compositions by Jarrod!
Sophie Taeuber-Arp, “Composition”, 1937,
© Public Domain
I find so much inspiration in art, and since the inception of Untitled Cycles, I’ve been looking at specific pieces of art and translating them into the language of the bicycle. After SRAM approached me to build a frame for their new XPLR line, I came across a work by Sophie Taeuber-Arp, a Swiss artist active in the 1920s-40s. A painting from 1937 titled “Composition” caught my eye – a constructivist influenced composition with primary shapes and colors (plus shades of green). It is dynamic and seems to encapsulate movement – like the moving parts and motion of a bicycle.
Delving into an artwork such as “Composition,” I learn about and consider not only things like its compositional logic, but also the broader context in which it was made. For example, during the rise of fascism in the 1930s, abstract art stood in opposition and defiance to the neoclassical, realist art preferred by the fascists. The same year “Composition” was painted, the Nazis put on the “Degenerate Art Exhibition” where stolen avant-garde artworks from museums were to be displayed to be mocked. With the recent surge in fascism, it seems appropriate to align with the defiance represented in abstract art.
Ultimately, this bike is made to be ridden! By doing so the art becomes liberated from the confines of a gallery and can become part of a larger story. A story I hope will be woven with memories of fun adventures with friends, sublime scenery, and lots of snacks.
It takes many hands to create a bicycle like this. So first, a very special thanks to my good friend Ronnie (@bagbagsphl) who took my half-baked ideas and materialized them as beautifully constructed bags. Thanks also to @rustyspindle at SRAM for initiating this project and being patient while supporting my vision. I appreciate all the folks at @keystone.bike – particularly Woody who did an excellent job at assembling this bike. Thanks to @colorworkspalette for executing the quality paint job. Many thanks to Bina and the Philly Bike Expo crew, Richard Sachs for the booth, and all the photographers. I could go on, but really; thank you to *all* who believe in me and have supported me in my work – I couldn’t have done it without YOU!