Great ready for fun as the circus comes to town

Tan Weiyun
"What a Circus," a celebration of creativity that transcends the ordinary, draws from the imaginative genius of American artist Alexander Calder in a blend of play and performance.
Tan Weiyun
Great ready for fun as the circus comes to town

Get ready for a whirlwind of creativity and fun as "What a Circus" leaps into Shanghai, a collaboration between the Centre Pompidou and West Bund Museum. The traveling show has already delighted audiences across France, Switzerland and Spain, and now it's ready to dazzle Shanghai with its unique blend of play and performance.

Drawing from the imaginative genius of American artist and sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976), "What a Circus" is a celebration of creativity that transcends the ordinary. It's a place where toys and theater converge, inviting you to step into the role of both the artist and the audience.

At the West Bund Museum's Creativity Gallery, the exhibition unfolds into an interactive wonderland. Here, you'll find games that spark curiosity, installation experiments that challenge the senses, and theater stages that beckon you to step into the spotlight.

Great ready for fun as the circus comes to town

The interactive elements are designed to ignite your creativity and offer fresh perspectives, allowing you to reimagine and reshape a grand circus scene.

The concept of this workshop exhibition is inspired by Calder's 1926 "Calder's Circus" creation, a complex and unique piece made from wire, leather, fabric, and other materials to form a portable circus that fits in a suitcase. Imagine a circus so intricate and detailed that it can be carried anywhere, setting the stage for endless possibilities.

Calder could manipulate the movement of each element, engaging a groundbreaking performative act, and sparking the idea for his famous mobile sculptures.

Calder's use of minimal lines and colors creates a poetic balance, crafting rhythmically mobile sculptures. "What a Circus" is a cross-temporal dialogue with Calder and a call to the innocence and joy within us all.

Great ready for fun as the circus comes to town

"Balance," "color," and "movement" are the permanent "guests" of this circus, inviting every visitor to explore the symbiotic laws of creation between art and science. Visitors will become circus members, playing various roles. They are the audience, the creators, and the performers, exploring the dynamic balance between people, space and art.

The exhibition comprises three interactive parts: "Playing with Balance," "Drawing in Space," and "In the Ring."

In "Playing with Balance," participants experience the thrill of tightrope walking and observe their every movement through a mirror, turning themselves into mobile sculptures.

Great ready for fun as the circus comes to town

In "Drawing in Space," they will explore the transformation of drawings from two-dimensional to three-dimensional forms, presenting more complex layers in three-dimensional space. From simple lines to complex volumes, drawing is not limited to flat surfaces but rather shows richer layers in three-dimensional space.

In "In the Ring," participants move from individual exploration to collective creation, using their imagination to create moving performers for the circus.

The exhibition encourages hands-on practice and features audio recordings, documentaries, films, and digital displays of Calder's manuscripts.

Date: Through December 1

Hours: 10am-5pm (Last entry at 4pm, closed on Mondays)

Venue: Creativity Gallery, West Bund Museum

Address: 2600 Longteng Avenue 龙腾大道2600号

Admission: Free

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