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Jeppe Hein I Residency from September 2009 to January 2010


From September 2009 to January 2010 family Hein will stay at Alexander Calder’s Atelier in Saché, France, as a part of an artist in residence programme. The overall theme accompanying residence and artistic projects will be CIRCUS HEIN, inspired by Calder’s Circus project.
During his stay in Paris 1926 - 1933 Alexander Calder created his Cirque Calder, a miniature work of performance art made of wire and found materials. Among other things his circus included trapeze artists, a belly dancer, a lion tamer and his lion, a cowboy with lasso, who could catch a bull, a knife thrower and his assistant as well as a ringmaster. It is said that in his circus, Calder developed some of the features of his later work. The Parisian avant-garde came to see Calder’s circus performances and he was thus introduced to artists in Paris, then the centre of the art world.
Circuses were very popular in the 1920’s, never before and never again so many circus shows existed. Moreover, the circus was a famous motive of several artists, for example George Seurat, Max Pechstein, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas and Pablo Picasso.

We would like to revitalize the theme and tie up with Calder’s Circus project during our stay at the Atelier. Referring to the Latin meaning of the word circus, we want to circle with people under a big top organizing a series of acts like workshops with kids and adults from different fields, talks and discussions about contemporary ideas and approaches, public projects and group shows in an open artistic arena. All projects will deal with the theme art & circus and focus on magic, illusion, performance, entertainment, participation, humour, sensations, suspense, excitement and amusement.
We imagine to set up a company of performers that develops works alluding to traditional circus acts like acrobatics, gymnastics with tumbling and trampoline, aerial acts with trapeze, juggling, daredevil stunts like human cannonball, fire eating and breathing, knife throwing, sword swallowing and magic shows, the performance of strongmen, tightrope walkers, funambulists, animal tamers, stilt walkers, clowns, unicyclers, contortionistas, pantomimes, conjurers and hoopers. Moreover, a new form of circus architecture will be designed, circus sculptures with all kind of materials will be build, exploding cakes, rainbow popcorn, magic candy and other typical circus food will be produced and a wallpaper using the colours and motives of circus posters and publications will be printed.

Like most circuses CIRCUS HEIN will go on tour. The first opening date of the touring exhibition will be at Atelier Calder and FRAC Orleans on December 12th. Afterwards the circus will move to other places like Vera Cortês Gallery in Lisbon (February – April 2010), Open Space at Art Cologne (April 2010) … to be continued.


© Atelier Calder 2009 - Tous droits réservés - Conception graphique et réalisation : MOCCA Design