Para Site is proud to present Bicycle Thieves, a group exhibition curated by Hanlu Zhang. The exhibition is interested in the fine line between sharing and stealing. Paying tribute to the eponymous Italian neorealist film in which a worker spends all his family savings to buy the bicycle needed for a new job but ends up losing the bike at the hands of a thief on his first day of work, the group exhibition extends the film’s concern to a contemporary context and highlights individuals’ precarious status as situated within increasingly tricky relations to various institutions and systems.
If we are to find a bike embodying the Zeitgeist of today, an invention once championed but soon bankrupted comes to mind: the bike sharing platforms. Juxtaposing the two imageries of bicycle, we speculate now with a seemingly far-fetched question: could these shared bikes be a potential solution to the tragedy depicted in the movie of some seventy years ago? Under the fluctuating backdrop of technological development, economic transition and political aggression, what has changed and what has not? Who are the bicycle thieves today?
Each year, Para Site’s summer exhibition highlights and supports an emerging curator allowing them direct access to the institution’s resources, network, and team to realise their exhibitions. Curators are selected from an international pool of proposal submissions as part of Para Site’s Emerging Curators Programme, now in its fifth year.