Le Tour De France: Inspiring Art

Inspiration is one of those elusive things; it can’t be touched and can be as ephemeral as an English summer’s day. However, we are increasingly hearing the word as the London 2012 Olympics approaches and I myself think back to the day when I was inspired by watching the cyclists at the Great Wall of China during the Beijing Olympics to get off the sofa and do something more interesting instead. I did of course and wrote a book about it. Inspiration from sport does not always lead to more sporting endeavour however; much that is taking place this summer comes under the banner of the ‘cultural Olympiad’ from music to Shakespeare from dance to art. Which is where an email earlier this week from an artist in Sheffield called Andrew Smith comes in…

Andrew’s work is about to open at an exhibition in Sheffield called simply ‘Vélo’ and is composed of photographs of the Tour de France, exploring the “existential and metaphysical aspects of cycling“. I bet you didn’t even know that they existed. Well they do, and this is proof of their, well, existence.

The exhibition will run in conjunction with this years Tour, and will be shown at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield. Andrew has also produced a book to accompany the exhibition. It is a stunning piece of work (I have seen it!) and through the vicarious eye of television & film images of the Tour de France brings the viewer into the very soul of the athlete. My God, I sound like Brian Sewell. Tim Krabbé, author of The Rider comments that ‘Cycling was mythical, but it survived its visibility. In ‘Vélo’, it becomes a visible myth‘. He must know what he’s talking about when it comes to cycling as he is Dutch. There are only 60 copies of the book, Vélo available so if you are interested, follow this link. I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite images from the work. If I’m passing by Sheffield this summer, I may well pop in…

Categories: Cycling

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