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INTERVIEW: CIRCUS STARR

Posted 19 November 2015 by Kat

Have you ever been to the circus? Have you seen the beautiful acrobats, funny clowns and the awesome ringmaster?

There is an exhibition at Tate Modern now packed full of artwork by the great Alexander Calder. He made lots of wire sculptures inspired by the circus and all the performers.

Tate Kids got the chance to interview a real life aerial performer from Circus Starr! Circus Starr is a circus which provides amazing shows for thousands of disadvantaged, disabled or vulnerable children. Let’s meet Romy Bauer and see what it’s really like to work in a circus!

Romy Bauer centre stage at  Circus Starr

Romy Bauer centre stage at Circus Starr c. Circus Starr

Hi Romy! What does a normal day look like?

A normal day on Circus Starr includes getting up very early to move to the next place and a lot of teamwork. It also includes practising (training) and getting ready for shows. Then of course there is show time which is the best part of the job!

We would love to know when was your first back flip?

I was trained in contortion (that means that Romy is really flexible) from a very young age, I don’t actually do backflips as that is more gymnastics than aerial contortion. I always wanted to be flexible so I trained in contortion when I was younger, it was a good base skill for my future.

Romy Bauer – the aerial performer at Circus Starr

Romy Bauer – the aerial performer at Circus Starr. c. Circus Starr

How did you end up working at Circus Starr?

I was born into the circus and as soon as I could perform, I did. I made my Big Top debut aged 3. I was part of my mother and fathers act, which also included my grandmother, cousin, aunt and uncle. My parents used to be managers and artists in Circus Starr in the 90’s so I was actually brought up here! It’s a company that is close to my heart and I’m very happy to be back here.

Do you see yourself as an artist?

Yes, as circus is performance art. I perform contortion inside a giant perspex ball suspended from the roof of the big top. It is such a wonderful feeling to perform for our audiences… I can’t describe it!

If you weren’t an acrobat, what would you be doing?

I’ve always loved make-up and fashion, so maybe something in that department!

Are there any other artists or dancers that inspire you?

Whenever I go to see another circus the other artists always inspire me!

What’s the best thing about your job?

I have always loved aerial; I love the beauty and danger of it! Seeing the children’s faces and excitement at show time makes all the hard work worth it.

Alexander Calder, Acrobats, c. 1927, Calder Foundation, New Yourk, Gift of Katherine Merle-Smith Thomas in memory of Van Santvoord Merle-Smith, Jr, 2010.

Alexander Calder, Acrobats, c. 1927, Calder Foundation, New York, Gift of Katherine Merle-Smith Thomas in memory of Van Santvoord Merle-Smith, Jr, 2010.

Have you ever seen Alexander Calder’s work (above is an example of his artwork called ‘Acrobats‘)?

This is the first time I have heard of Alexander Calder. I love the movement and playfulness in his work.

As a real-life acrobat, what do you think about it?

It’s very interesting to see circus from a different perspective. It has a very old-fashioned circus feel to it. It’s beautiful!

Massive thanks to Romy and Circus Starr for the interview! Be sure to check out Circus Starr and the Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture exhibition at Tate Modern soon. 😉

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Textile Tryout 2: Wrapping up the impossible!

Posted 18 November 2014 by Kat

Hi there, it’s Sarah here again! Welcome to the second Textile Tryout! This Textile Tryout is inspired by artworks that use textiles and found objects.

I’ve noticed a lot of textiles around Manchester (where I live) recently, covered over…

buildings…

cars…
car

and…what’s under that?
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I enjoy looking at textiles that are draped, hung and stretched over objects because they make new shapes. Artists like Christo and Jeanne-Claude enjoy using textiles in their work too. Look at this enormous artwork called Wrapped Reichstag.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95. Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 1995 Christo Source: http://christojeanneclaude.net

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin, 1971-95. Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 1995 Christo Source: christojeanneclaude.net

The Reichstag building is in Berlin and its under all that cloth!  It took 100,000 square meters of silvery fabric and over fifteen kilometers (about 9 miles!) of blue ropes to wrap this up! The artwork was allowed to stay for two weeks in the summer of 1995. What an incredible sight that must have been!

Here are some other examples of artists using textiles wrapped over objects in their work at Tate.

Richard Tuttle I Don’t Know . The Weave of Textile Language 2014

Richard Tuttle I Don’t Know . The Weave of Textile Language 2014. Source: tate.org.uk

Phyllida Barlow untitled: dock: 5stockadecrates 2014 Photo: Alex Delfanne. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Phyllida Barlow untitled: dock: 5stockadecrates 2014
Photo: Alex Delfanne. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth

In my own work I have used textiles and found objects to create strange things too. This artwork uses a pair of tights and an old chair I found with it’s seat missing. I used stretching, pulling and weaving actions to create it.

Artwork by Sarah Sanders, Untitled, found chair and tights, 2007 Photography by © Alan Sams

Sarah Sanders, Untitled, found chair and tights, 2007
Photography by © Alan Sams

In the second activity for the Textile Tryouts, I’m going to show you how to make your own artworks using textiles and found objects. Read on and then try it for yourself!

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Press play to see me making my artwork! I was really happy with my work at the end! Say Cheese!

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I’ve had a go at wrapping the moon! The moon inside is yellow by the way and I have drawn some cranes on it to help me with this impossible task. Hope you like it!

Wrapping up the Moon. A painting of the moon wrapped up, using paint, fabric, ribbon, sequins, glue and green sticky tape.

Wrapping up the Moon. A painting of the moon wrapped up, using paint, fabric, ribbon, sequins, glue and green sticky tape.

Now it’s your turn! Get involved in the second Textile Tryout!

Once you’ve taken a photograph of your performance, object or drawing, we want to see it!

You can email it us on kids@tate.org.uk or get a parent, guardian or teacher to tweet @tate_kids using the #textiletryouts

We will then showcase some of the work here on Tate Kids!

If you have any questions for Sarah or comments about the Textile Tryouts, let us know in the comments below.

Did you miss the first tryout? How could you!? Check it out!

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Textile Tryout 1: Out into the world

Posted 14 October 2014 by Kat

Hello my name is Sarah Sanders. I am an artist living in Manchester, UK and love combining text in live performances. Click on the picture below to see a video of me blowing on some letters I cut out of a newspaper a few years ago, for the Text Festival at Bury Art Gallery.

Sarah Sanders' Lettered Performance. Filmed by Geof Huth. 2011

Sarah Sanders, f e  ar, 2011. Filmed by Geof Huth.

For the Textile Tryouts I will be making 3 exciting activities you can try at home, in school or in your favourite place outside.

So what’s so special about text and what’s it got to do with art? Well, have you noticed how text….. is EVERYWHERE? You’re reading text right now, of course! It’s also on your packet of breakfast cereal, you can find it on posters you pass in the street and you can even find it flying above your heads, yes I’m talking about text on planes!

Here’s some text I get delivered to my house. Can you guess where this G came from?

 Artists love to use it too in their work. Check out these two artworks for example. This one has some newspaper in the picture …

Pablo PicassoBottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper 1913 © Succession Picasso/DACS 2014

Pablo Picasso Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper 1913 © Succession Picasso/DACS 2014

And this colourful text is actually painted by hand onto wood.

Bob and Roberta SmithMake Art Not War 1997 © Bob and Roberta Smith

Bob and Roberta Smith Make Art Not War 1997 © Bob and Roberta Smith

Some artists enjoy finding things that are already made in the world such as newspaper or text found on a signpost for example, and use them as materials for their own work. Have you seen Richard Tuttle’s Letters (The Twenty-Six Series)? I like them very much.

Richard Tuttle, 1966, Letters (The Twenty-Six Series), Nina and Gordon Bunshaft Bequest (by exchange) © 2014 Richard Tuttle. Source: MOMA, The Collection

Richard Tuttle, 1966, Letters (The Twenty-Six Series), Nina and Gordon Bunshaft Bequest (by exchange) © 2014 Richard Tuttle. Source: MOMA, The Collection

I used newspaper in my performance because I was questioning how stories are told in the media. Do stories in newspapers show the full picture? What do you think?

For the first activity of the Textile Tryouts, I’m going to show you how to make your very own text performance, inspired by text found around us.

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SARAH3

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Sarahs TIPS

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Now it’s your turn! Get involved in the first Textile Tryout!  

Once you’ve taken a photograph of your performance, we want to see it!

You can email it us on kids@tate.org.uk or get a parent, guardian or teacher to tweet @tate_kids using the #textiletryouts

We will then showcase some of the work here on Tate Kids!

If you have any questions for Sarah or comments about the Textile Tryouts, let us know in the comments below.

You can also see the second textile tryout here!!! What are you waiting for! Go tryout! 

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