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Claude Lévêque at La Verrière

Ideal Circus

Claude Lévêque's controversial work Le Grand Soir was created for the French pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. His latest installation, Ideal Circus at La Verrière, sets out once again to challenge contemporary society, through the medium of the circus.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Claude Lévêque at La Verrière
© Claude Lévêque

Since 1982, Claude Lévêque's works have conjured dreams, fantasies, childhood references and man's violence against man. His installations are born out of the creative tension between tenderness and brutality, dreams and terror, darkness and light, anxiety, constraint and the play of mirrors. Lévêque is a visual artist working chiefly in situ to create intense, highly charged atmospheres generating a host of often contradictory impressions.

Created specially for La Verrière, the miniature circus stands over our heads, out of reach. On a plexiglass sheet, a Big Top is supported on turned wooden struts rising two-and-a-half metres above the ground. The two-metre-high structure, with its traditional central tentpole and garland of lights, resonates perfectly with the space and surrounding architecture. The complementary soundtrack, by Gerome Nox, features a familiar tune – the Entry of the Gladiators.

Facing the installation, a terrifying image is revealed: a laughing clown, his eyes pierced by knifeblades. The artist's penetrating, acerbic view of a terrifying world? Claude Lévêque ambushes his public with a seductive play of artifice that entices and unsettles in equal measure.

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Artistic Director: Alice Morgaine
Sound design: Gerome Nox
Whistlers: Côme Duwa and Claude Lévêque