Anima d’acciaio: Columbus e il design della bicicletta.
curated by Francesca Luzzana, Federico Stanzani
Opening Wednesday 20 November, 6.30pm
From 21.11 to 22.02.2020
COLUMBUS CONTINUUM proceeds with its exploration of the eclectic character of the Columbus centenary, presenting a new exhibition from 20 November 2019 to 22 February 2020 in the spaces of Galleria Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea, titled Anima d’acciaio: Columbus e il design della bicicletta (Soul of Steel: Columbus and bicycle design).
The exhibition displays a selection of Columbus tubing sets (the eight or eleven tubes that compose the frame of a bicycle), with their special characteristics: AELLE 55, SL, AIR, SLX, MAX, Genius, OR, Starship, XCr, just to name some of them, to illustrate an ideal path of technological innovation over the last century in the bicycle industry. The show reveals the crucial contribution the company has made to the evolution of bicycles, opening up unprecedented possibilities in terms of material, lightness, design and assembly. Creating, for example, the first variable thickness reinforced tubing in chromium-molybdenum alloy steel in the history of cycling, and the first cold-rolled elliptical fork blades.
In the overview, a large section of the exhibition focuses on the results of use of the innovative tubing series: bicycles that have brought victory to outstanding teams and champions like Coppi, Anquetil, Ole Ritter, Hinault, Gimondi, Merckx, De Vlaeminck, Lemond, Moser, Argentin, Oersted, in every field of competition, from the Hour Record to the great Classics and Monuments. They are narrated from an original perspective, offered recently by studies and rediscoveries in the Archivio Storico Columbus (Columbus historical archive) as it takes form (a true “open work” that will generate a unique contribution to the discipline of corporate history), through fragments of stories, objects, press releases, catalogues, advertising, gray literature, jerseys, caps, letterbooks and curious anecdotes, pointing to questions that at times pose quandaries for the curators themselves.
The other section of the exhibition contains items “hors concours”: bicycles, frames, machinerie, working tools, commemorative objects, as a natural compendium of the first section, to sum up – in narrative and physical terms – the celebration of the first 100 years of a Milanese metallurgical manufacturer, as indicated in the subtitle of the entire initiative.
The goal of this second exhibition in the Columbus Continuum program is to reveal how the special (and centenary) heart of steel of Columbus metaphorically but also physically crosses the history of cycling and the history of enterprise, of Italy and the world: in terms of means, thought and production.
We would like to extend particular thanks to the organizations, museums, companies, individuals and friends of Columbus in general that have contributed with passion, generosity and expertise to the creation of this exhibition.