Art Brussels 2011

Art Brussels 2011

The Big Clown Show

28.04.11 → 01.05.11

Since the 19th century, the image the artist has of himself and that society is reflecting back to him irresistibly changes. He stops being considered and stops considering himself the equal of people in high places. On the contrary, he perceives and projects himself as a fringe element, a dropout and later on, metaphorically, as a buffoon or a clown. Hence his interest for the circus, which starts to develop at that time.


Parallel to ceremonial self-portraits, formal and classical, are often appearing ironical self-portraits, in which the artists depict themselves in a grimacing, ridiculous or grotesque aspect.The clown figure is haunting art since two centuries. From Watteau to Cindy Sherman, not to mention Goya, Ensor, Rouault, Chagall or Picasso.The marginalization of the artist gives him a feeling of loneliness and abandonment. He is misunderstood by the public and then becomes a nomad, kept out of society, like the circus that erects its big top in suburbs and waste grounds. Henceforth, the artist sees himself as a fringe element, a dropout, a social misfit, a wanderer, an entertainer, a clown.

  • George Condo
  • Wim Delvoye
  • James Ensor
  • Hans Peter Feldmann
  • Uwe Henneken
  • Jeff Koons
  • Sean Landers
  • Thomas Lerooy
  • Justin Lieberman
  • Eddie Martinez
  • Vincent Olinet
Selected Images