Opening 12th March 2015 (Thursday) at 6 pm
UM Gallery, until 18th April 2015
open: Mon. – Sat., 10 am – 6 pm
This exhibition offers a first comprehensive look at Czech bicycle designers and manufacturers.
Since the Velvet Revolution, a number of companies specialising in the manufacture of modern bicycles have begun to appear in the Czech Republic. Some have succeeded and prevailed in the domestic and subsequently foreign market, others have disappeared, with their models currently ranking among collectors' items.
Interest in every type of cycling was aroused among the younger generation of that era, for whom suddenly the possibility of a choice of bikes from reputable foreign companies opened up. However, simultaneously Czech manufacturers started to come to the fore. Development since 2000 can be considered as the imaginary climax of the "cycling boom". Society has begun to consider the relationship between cycling and the environment, transport in larger Czech cities and the support of local manufacturers. This has been reflected in the Czech manufacture.
"UM bikes Exhibition aims to present an image of current Czech bicycle production which, with its technical and aesthetic processes, ranks among unique local manufacture today," Kristýna Zámečníková and Adam Šimeček, curators of the exhibition, elaborate on this concept. Bicycles designed by students and graduates of UMPRUM will be on display, as well as bikes manufactured by limited-series companies, which have eventually grown into competitors to established foreign manufacturers.
For example, one of the bikes on display to attract attention is the Folder by Mikuláš Novotný — a folding town bike — whose main advantage is the combination of comfortable cycling with standard mountain bike diameter and the mobility of a folding bike. After folding up, it is possible to move it around easily like a little cart.
Petr Švec and Michal Malášek have focused on producing quality, light children's cycles. There are only a few companies in the world specialising in this range. One of these is Juniorbicycles. As a young racer, company founder, Petr Švec, was not content with the production at the time, so he started building bikes for himself, his family and friends. After positive feedback, he founded the Juniorbicycles company in 2010. It is now the only company in the Czech Republic dedicated exclusively to bicycles for children.
Avid cyclist and designer, Svatopluk Zatloukal, introduced a unique phenomenon between 1994 and 2004. He was employed by the Mora Aerospace company, dedicated to the manufacture of aircraft engines. This is where he gradually built the world-renowned brand of Morati titanium frames. Rumours of their quality quickly spread beyond the borders. Cyclists have many times won international Cyclocross championships as well as Czech championship titles on the saddles of these bikes.
UMbikes — the title of the exhibition — refers to two contemporary phenomena: the popular means of transport for UMPRUM students, as well as sophisticated manufacture, which is evoked by the word "um" (“skill” in Czech). This "um"/”skill”, whether technical or artistic, is the leitmotif of the entire exhibition.
Curators: Kristýna Zámečníková and Adam Šimeček