If Marcel Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel" turned the art world on its head in 1913, artist Gavin Turk and industrial designer Ben Wilson (the 3D specialist of Wilson Brothers) have righted the piece for curator Alice Sharp's exhibition of the same name, which opens at the View Tube in East London this weekend.
Wilson and Turk share a long-standing interest in the readymade and the bicycle in particular and have pushed the remarkable invention of the unicycle to an even more unusual conclusion. Built from four unicycles supported by an H-frame, Turk and Wilson's collaboration turns the unicycle's main feature as a solo act into a joint effort, inviting four riders to enjoy a collective biking experience along a stretch of east London's unique foot and cycle path, The Greenway.
Inspired by the Romanian artist Andreé Cadere, a key figure of Minimalist and Conceptual art, Turk and Wilson have clad 4H's frame with multi-colored wooden segments bringing a celebratory feel to the bicycle with fetes and festivals in mind.
While it's not quite as revolutionary as the first readymade, "4H" definitely feels more like an art project than an urban mobility solution. Nevertheless, its interactive aspect certainly invites more meaningful social interactions than, say, a tandem bike, where one rider sits behind the other.
Alternately, the "H" also resembles a sideways chassis, evoking a pedal-powered sedan—an upgrade from the Flinstones' vehicle—with no body to speak of... or a kind of fixed-gear quadracycle.
Turk (left) & Wilson (right) aboard the "4H"
However you spin it, "4H" is (and makes for) an interesting exercise in alternative transportation. More information here (PDF).