Design, Art, Desire
28 Nov 2020 – 26 Apr 2021
GOMA | Gallery 1.1 The Fairfax Gallery, Gallery 1.2, Gallery 1.3 Eric & Marion Taylor Gallery | Ticketed
This world-exclusive exhibition, only in Brisbane, will showcase the art, design and history of one of the most iconic objects of the last 150 years, the motorcycle.
Featuring more than 100 innovative and influential motorcycles from the 1860s to present day, it will consider the iconic vehicle from the perspective of social history, popular culture, design and technology.
The exhibition will tap into the appeal of this enduring object of design and art, looking at the motorcycle’s past, present and future.
Highlights of the exhibition will include:
- An 1871 Perreaux, the first steam-powered velocipede and oldest known motorcycle in the world;
- The earliest Australian-designed and built machines, including a Spencer produced in Brisbane in 1906;
- The 1951 Vincent Black Lightning that set an Australian land speed record in its day and more recently a world record for the highest price paid at auction for a motorcycle;
- Symbols of speed including the1930s Triumph Speed Twin, the 1970s Ducati 750 Super Sport, and the 1990s Britten V1000;
- Off-road motorcycles highlighting a rich history of bikes built for dust and dirt;
- Customised motorcycles at the intersection of art and design;
- Ultra-modern electric motorcycles, demonstrating the future of transportation in the age of renewable energy.
Discover more about ‘The Motorcycle’ with our range of related events listed below.
Motorcycles on screen
The accompanying cinema program explores film depictions of motorcycles from around the world, looking back at more than a century of motorcycles on screen. It includes iconic classics (The Wild One 1953, Easy Rider 1969), cult favourites (Scorpio Rising 1963, Akira 1988) and recent films (Finke: There and Back 2018, The Wild Goose Lake 2019). Explore themes of freedom, danger, and fraternity, as well as surveying the vehicle’s history and looking ahead to the roles it may play in future societies.
Production still from The Motorcycle Diaries 2004 / Director: Walter Salles / Image courtesy: Madman Entertainment
Drawing on QAGOMA’s unique cutting-edge design technology, the exhibition will feature a range of immersive interactives to enhance the visitor experience. Discover more about the art, design and historical context of each bike through the exhibition companion website. Take a virtual seat on a 1950s Vespa, 1960s Dirt Bike or an Electric ‘Future’ Bike and go riding in real-time through a themed landscape. Spend some time building and customising your own bike, on a touch-screen interactive, maybe with a little help from our virtual Ellaspede consultant.
Full Face: Artists' Helmets
‘Full Face: Artists’ Helmets’ introduces visitors to the interwoven themes of art and design that ‘The Motorcycle’ explores. 15 contemporary Australian artists individualise a motorcycle helmet, capitalising on the object's sculptural form, and employing it as a canvas for their work. The artists include emerging, mid-career and senior practitioners, and the selection reflects gender diversity to broaden the traditional image of motorcycle culture as a predominantly male domain.
Featured artists: Monika Behrens, Kate Beynon, David Booth (ghostpatrol), Eric Bridgeman and Alison Wel, eX de Medici, Shaun Gladwell, Madeleine Kelly, Callum McGrath, Archie Moore, Robert Moore, Nell, Reko Rennie, Brian Robinson, TextaQueen, Guan Wei.
David Booth (ghostpatrol) / My sticker collection 2020 / Biltwell Gringo ECE helmet, hand-cut digital prints on self-adhesive PVC / 26 x 26 x 34cm / Photograph: Mark Lobo / Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery
Entry to ‘The Motorcycle’ exhibition will be staggered to allow visitors to enter in safe numbers and allow for free movement throughout the exhibition while following social distancing advice. This means there may be a short wait before you can enter the exhibition. Purchasing your exhibition tickets in advance will help the queuing run smoothly. We highly recommend you purchase your tickets before visiting as this will avoid you having to provide your contact details twice for contact tracing (i.e. once on arrival and a second time at ‘The Motorcycle’ ticket desk). For easy access, simply show your pre-purchased exhibition ticket to enter GOMA and again at the exhibition entry. For more details visit our COVID-safe practices plan.
Get up to speed at The Motorcycle Exhibition Shop, a pop-up retail experience featuring an exciting range of publications and products that explore the culture, vibe, and aesthetic that inspired ‘The Motorcycle’ exhibition. Highlights include exclusive exhibition apparel and accessories by cult brand Deus ex Machina, and bespoke design pieces produced by local heroes Ellaspede.
Louis-Guillaume Perreaux / Vélocipède à vapeur c.1870 / Département des Hauts-de-Seine / Musée du Domaine départemental de Sceaux / Photograph: Olivier Ravoire.
Majestic c.1929 / Collection: Bobby Haas and Haas Moto Museum / © Haas Moto Galleries LLC / Photograph: Grant Schwingle .