Like a circus parade arriving in town, this exhibition will feature, for the first time, magnificent costumes and adornments from the greatest companies in the world. In their brandenburg dolmans, bags or leotards, adorned with painted patterns, embroidery and sequins, Monsieur Loyal, white clowns, augustes, riders, acrobats, jugglers, tamers, trapeze artists and tightrope walkers will embody the magic of the art of the track in a whirlwind of colors and light. The CNCS invites visitors to discover this universe from the appearance of the modern circus in the 18th century, to the changes in contemporary circus.
Elements presented in the exhibition
Costumes, costume and play accessories, trunks, paintings, photographs, posters, costume and make-up models, audiovisual documents, interviews with artists, costume designers, manufacturers, will be presented at the CNCS. These works come from the greatest families and circuses around the world : Fratellini, Bouglione, Cirque Plume, Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Phénix, Franco Dragone Entertainment Group… They are kept by the circuses themselves, but also in the rich collections of the National Library of France , particularly within its Performing Arts department, as well as private collectors, costumers and craftsmen.
Behind the scenes of the track to the stars
In addition to the presentation of the locker room of these emblematic characters, the exhibition will take visitors behind the scenes of the show . From the design of the costume to its realization, it will showcase the talent of true masters of art., traditional or more contemporary manufacturing processes, without forgetting the essential complements such as makeup, wigs, masks, shoes … An artist’s dressing room will evoke the physical transformation of the artist into a character ready to arouse laughter and emotion. Through this staging, the exhibition will also present the evolution of costumes characterized according to the numbers, borrowing from military art as from ballet, from the fashion of exoticism as from history or art. contemporary…
The fantastic history of the circus
Shows from the Equestrian Art in England in the middle of the XVIII th century, the circus has spread to the entire Western world , to the United States, Africa and China, creating a form of popular entertainment and colorful, in perpetual renewal from elements that have forged its identity: the track, the big top, the risk, the prowess, the laughter. Throughout its history, the circus is movement and metamorphosis, creating a highly technical art of costume, just as demanding as it is spectacular.
The Performing Arts Department of the National Library of France
The performing arts department of the National Library of France’s mission is to collect, preserve, report and make accessible to as many people as possible, on site and remotely, the collections constituting the memory of shows in France: manuscripts, models, costumes and objects, photographs, audiovisual, posters, drawings and prints, programs and press… as well as books and magazines. In addition, the department keeps a large number of archives of authors, directors, actors, decorators, costume designers, theaters, festivals and companies. All expressions of live performance are represented: theater, circus, dance, puppets, cabaret, street shows… as well as cinema, television and radio. Learn more.
Images courtesy of Centre National du Costume de Scene.