DAYS OF CIRCUS
From July 18 to September 8, 2002
The "Days of Circus" arose out of a meeting between the Principality of Monaco which, through its circus festival, has become the world's main centre for the promotion of circus arts, and the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions in Paris, whose collections contain a century of acquisitions dedicated to the circus arts. The Grimaldi Forum entrusted the curation of this exhibition to Zeev Gourarier, chief heritage curator at the National Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions (now the MuCEM of Marseille).
Celebrating the tents and feats of circus performers, the exhibition highlights the dreams and light left in the wake by the convoy of stars after the spotlight goes out. The exhibition circuit recreates various moments along the journey of a circus, including memories and impressions, from the announcement of its arrival (posters), to entering the city (parade floats), going through the preparations (setting up of the camp and the marquee), to the actual show itself (costumes, accessories, photographs).
Highlighting the association between visual and performing arts, the exhibition also discusses the influence that the circus has had on the great masters of art history (Seurat, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rouault, Chagall, Picasso, Calder). The catalogue still offers unprecedented insight into the circus world, revealing little-known history including caravans, posters or costumes, as well as the artists who dedicated areas of their work to the circus.