National Library of France
Assembling made up from various cosutumes presented in the exhibition
© cncs Photos Pascal François / Design: Atalante-Paris
from June 15, 2013 to January 5, 2014 Hors les mursLike a circus parade through the streets of a city, this exhibition will present for the first time outstanding costumes and fineries from the most famous companies worldwide. In their braided dolmans, bags or skin-tight garments decorated with painted patterns, pieces of embroidery and sequins, ringmasters, whiteface or Auguste clowns, riders, acrobats, jugglers, tamers, trapeze artists and tightrope walkers will personify the magic universe of the ring’s art in a whirlwind of colors and light. The CNCS invites visitors to a journey through this universe, from the beginning of modern circus in the 18th century to contemporary transformations. The CNCS will present a wide range of pieces: costumes, props, trunks, paintings, photographs, posters, costume and make-up sketches, audiovisual documents, interviews of artists, wardrobe masters, manufacturers. These works belong to the most famous families and circuses in the world: Fratellini, Bouglione, Cirque Plume, Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Phénix… They are kept by these circuses, housed in the rich collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Performing Art Department) or owned by private collectors and craftsmen. The exhibition will also focus on the lives of these emblematic characters backstage. From the costume’s design to its making, it will show the talent of craftsmen who can be true masters of art and traditional or more contemporary manufacturing processes. The exhibition will also propose to discover the essential complements to costumes that are make-up, wigs, masks, shoes… A dressing-room will let us imagine the physical transformation of the artist in a character ready to arouse laughters and emotions. This organization will also allow to discover how a costume - connected to a specific circus act – evolved, how costumes were inspired by military art, ballet, exoticism, history or contemporary art… Circus is a show inherited from equestrian art born in England in the mid 18th century; it spread in the whole western world as far as the United States, Africa and China and became a popular, colourful show in perpetual renewal based on the elements which forged its identity: the ring, the big top, risk, prowess, laughter. Throughout its history, the circus has been movement and metamorphosis, creating a very technical, demanding and spectacular art of costume.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013