Curated by: Francesca Fontana e Marco Pastonesi
From 11 October 2019 to 13 April 2020, the Modena Figurine Museum, one of the institutional realities that is part of the Modena Visual Arts Foundation, presents the exhibition BICI DAVVERO! Velocipedes, figurines and other stories that retrace two centuries of bicycle history, through 350 pieces including albums and figurines.
The exhibition, curated by Francesca Fontana and Marco Pastonesi, with the patronage of the Italian Cycling Federation, is an act of love towards this revolutionary means of transport, a symbol of freedom. "The freedom of cycling - writes Marco Pastonesi - running, traveling, trespassing, even surpassing oneself and surpassing oneself, because one is never alone in the saddle, there is always someone to confront and accompany oneself, and it is oneself. And then also the freedom to dream, fantasize, invent ”.
The exhibition opens with the most exquisitely historical section that analyzes the evolution of the bicycle and celebrates its pioneers: starting from the German baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn who in 1817 invented the Draisina, a "racing machine" driven by strength alone of the legs, passing through Pierre and Ernest Michaux who in the 1860s applied the pedals to the front wheel, up to the revolutionary and very light carbon bicycles of our days.
At the beginning, the bicycle was called "steel horse" and the "knights" cyclists. The figurines thus document the evolution of the mutated clothing, for men, from that of the jockeys, consisting of silk jackets, boots and horse caps, later replaced by more practical clothes that leave legs and arms uncovered. However, it is women's clothing that undergoes the greatest transformations: the new means of transport makes it necessary to abandon nineteenth-century skirts in favor of pant-skirts, galoshes and boots, to move easily without sacrificing elegance.
A section of the exhibition highlights how much more difficult it was for a woman to ride a bicycle than for a man: just think that the female version of the Ariel model had two pedals on one side of the large front wheel, so the ladies were forced to ride the Amazon.