Bicycle Thief

  Bicycle Thief, 1998, Beijing  - 58 x 50cm, Platinum Lustre Rag, Edition of 5. No. 3 available.

Bicycle Thief, 1998, Beijing - 58 x 50cm, Platinum Lustre Rag, Edition of 5. No. 3 available.

I had my bike stolen, a common occurrence in Beijing. Once the responsible gang was identified, I decided to follow them. They were storing hundreds of bikes in a disused industrial building that a few years later became a renowned art gallery. I made it inside, squatting on the floor, hiding behind a bicycle. He was walking up and down every now and then, always with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, hands in the pockets, with a ghostly gentleman look. The boys were calling him “King of Bikes”. We first spoke as he was playing poker upstairs: he was desperately trying to send his son to study abroad. We ended up playing poker together once a week, on the mutual agreement that I could win parts of my own bike. It took me a few months to get it back.