Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

Proposal: Russian Olympic Cycling Team

Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992

Despite appearances, this is not actually a bike. It’s a piece by an artist named Daniel Bragin, who was born in Moscow but lives and works in London and Amsterdam. The correct title of the work is ‘Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992’, a statement about the New, emerging Russia.

So no, it’s not really a Chesini TT frame, resprayed with Black Gold Pearl by House of Kolor. As much as you’d like to believe, it’s not a Campagnolo 24 karat-plated Chorus groupset. And while the wheels may be a pair of Mavic Challenger discs, it’s what is depicted upon them that’s important.

Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992

Daniel tells a deeper story: “In my latest project that is called ‘Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992’ are some eye catching symbols, that are integrated in one piece. The symbols that you see have, on one hand, their own meaning and a sense of interpretation.

“The spectator that is standing in front of the work can see these symbols as individual elements. For example the airbrushed Orthodox icons on the disc wheels can be seen as the first overwhelming amount of volume taking property of the totality.

Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992

“On the other hand, the given symbols and the material that are used like gold plating and the black leather on the saddle and bars stand in the eyes of the maker of the object opposite to each other. Because of the juxtaposition that is given, the original way of reading an object latterly disappears.

“I would say that the original interpretation of the symbols not just disappear but because of taking the symbols out of their classic context and are woven together, the relationship between the visual elements appear under new light.

Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992

“I have to admit it’s not about what you see in the first place. The Russian Orthodox Contemporary church, the New Russia, the phrase ‘Gott Mit Uns’ that is written in Gothic letters or the decadent gold plated parts. Yes, that’s what you see. But I expect more than just the first impression. It’s the thoughts behind the visible layer of the object that is given.

“It has more to do with a link between the invisible aspects and the unity that exists between the Russian Orthodox religious fields, the rebirth of the new Russia and the dictatorship that we remember from the past.”

Fair play. Truthfully, I’d prefer to look at Daniel’s work than ride it. Which is OK, as the gold plating has rendered the gruppo and Rohloff chain un-rideable. Still, it would’ve earned the 1992 Russian Olympic Cycling Team some serious style points. Check out Daniel’s portfolio or his profile on Saatchi Gallery.

PS: Printed on heavy duty vinyl by Sticker Mule, the The Spoken Mondrian Sticker is now available to purchase and will announce your appreciation of classic cycling wherever it is displayed. The stickers measure 3″x 3″ and cost $7 with free international postage. Head to the webstore to purchase. Your support helps keep the wheels of The Spoken turning.

Proposal for Russian Olympic Cycling Team 1992