Beyond speed: John Berger’s love for motorbikes and freedom

At 7pm on Wednesday, April 3, the art gallery Fondazione Sozzani in Milan will welcome Maria Nadotti, Benedetta Marietti and Michele Lupi to introduce and discuss the book “Sulla motocicletta” (“On the motorbike”), written and illustrated by John Berger (1926-2017), and published in Italy by Neri Pozza within its collection “Piccola Biblioteca”.


Lovingly edited by translator Maria Nadotti, the book is a tribute to John Berger’s take on the art of riding motorbikes, and a must-read for everyone who has ever lived this “freedom experience”. Well known all over the world for his talent as an art critic, a poet and a storyteller, John Berger was also a scriptwriter, a theatre actor and a draughtsman.

With its mechanics and unstable wheels, the bike is Berger’s favorite transport, as well as a metaphor and a lure for the body and the mind to join forces, a research tool and a source of pleasure constantly demanding that the eyes, mind, hands and heart should all be on the same wavelength.



If you wish to stay alive while on a bike, you cannot let your mind wander over anything else. This is how John Berger described his passion for motorbikes in a 2002 interview with an LA radio, a passion born while he was serving in the military and never faded since  ̶  at almost ninety years old, he was still giving motorcycle riding lessons to Tilda Swinton’s young daughter.

Being an art that stands out from all other kinds of driving, riding bikes is to Berger an intense experience of pure physical and psychic freedom.

Emanuela Zini
My professional life has been marked by several big changes that made me grow as a person and as a leader, develop new skills and mental flexibility, which in turn allows me to face challenges from a different, unique perspective. To me, writing represent a way to communicate with myself and with others. Telling stories and engaging my readers are the challenges that I am currently facing within a wider editorial project.

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