The big yellow bicycle

... and the inherent 10,000 SIGNED AND NUMBERED LITHOGRAPHS

June, 1987, Milan

In those days the Municipality of Milan gave out one thousand yellow bicycles, many of them were not returned. And there were people who immediately commented: ‘What a naiveté! How could one think that such an idea would have worked!’.

However, a little while after that I realized that some workers have spontaneously started to repair the damaged bicycles for free. And then I thought that I could do something too, something as a private citizen, on my own, and, of course, in my own special line. I am an artist, I have made several public works by now, and I always get immersed in the contemporary world, always striving to contact with the present.

That is how I started to create the ‘Big Yellow Bicycle’, 1987 (3×6 meters), if you want, a praise of simplicity, of naiveté and of generosity. I also started to prepare ten thousand lithographs to give away free of charge at my own expense, 5 m³ of paper in total.

‘The Municipality of Milan gave out one thousand yellow bicycle as many of them were not returned’.

Naturally, I realize that citizens would want to own ten thousand real bicycles but I can only give them the artificial ones. They are for those who want them. And for the thieves. Let them also have a lithograph by Misheff! While I was signing the lithographs, I told myself: if they were sold one by one, these lithographs would cost, let’s say, fifty thousand liras. Five hundred million for ten thousand copies. Even twice the price of the original sponsorship! And let other naïve people come, and even more others. Long live the one who loses and starts again because he trusts people[1].

[1] Misheff, A., Projects and paintings – 1979/1989, Milan, Mazzotta ed., 1989.