Cycling is one of the most common forms of transportation in China, but Weiwei manipulates the bicycles by removing their primary function and making them static. The freedom associated with cycling is lost and the bicycles are piled together in a labyrinth-like way that renders them useless and immobile. Visitors can stand below the installation and see each detail from a new angle, gaining a new perspective on the bicycles and reflecting on their meaning.
Weiwei’s brilliant work often has a social or political subtext, and continues to receive huge amounts of attention worldwide. This particular exhibit also creates an interesting juxtaposition of past and present, classical and modern: The Palazzo was built in the mid 1500s, while the Forever brand bicycles Weiwei used for the installation have been mass-produced in China since the 1940s.