‘In order to completely immerse myself in the cycling environment’, Belgian artist Jef Geys (1934-2018) photographed the first Tour de France that Eddy Merckx was to win in 1969. The leitmotif of his contrary reportage was not the glamour of the triumphal procession but the merging of the unusual and the everyday in the life of the cyclist. Among the spectators, tour bikes, team cars and advertising hoardings, a cyclist pops up here and there: is that Eddy Merckx? Two pages of Belgian newspapers of the time put the event beautifully into perspective: on the same day that Merckx won the Tour, Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon. This exhibition demonstrates once more that Jef Geys was the master of the blend of the High and the Low (literally in this case) that made him one of the most influential post-war Belgian artists.
printed on 21-01-2020
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