Thirteen years after it was established under its present name, the Swedish art and design foundation Vandalorum finally has a place it can call “home”. Or should that be “hem”? Interestingly for us, at any rate, is the fact that the first exhibition to take place there opened a week ago, and is all about bikes.
Cyklar! (Swedish for Bicycles!) is the idea of Sune Nordgren, Vandalorum’s project manager since 2007, and as such the man responsible for converting some adjacent barns in Småland, southern Sweden, into what is planned will flourish as an international centre of excellence for all matters art and design-related .
Of course, a part of the thinking behind establishing the museum in what might seem at first to be an out-of-the-way location is to pay tribute to Småland’s rich regional aesthetic heritage. The area is famous for its long history of fine craftsmanship in the fields of glass- and woodwork.
Nordgren’s wish was to open the museum with a first exhibition that might reflect one of his own personal passions; the melding together of idea and form. But as a keen cyclist without a driving license, more specifically the notion of bicycles as desirable objects; furthermore as tools for communication, for the environment and for health.
Cristina Würdig of Brooks was invited to the museum earlier this month for a sneak peek, and understandably pleased to see so many fine English leather saddles adorning frames which had been gathered from all over the world.
Every piece in the show reflects Nordgren’s astute fascination for a few distinct strands of bicycle design. Machines which are product of the accumulated knowledge of several generations, like those of Skeppshult, Pedersen and Christiania are represented.
As can the… has anyone been on one of these for a spin?
Cyklar! opened April 16th at Vandalorum.The exhibition runs until August 7th 2011.