Installation view
R. Luke DuBois
Left to right:
Circus Sarasota: Gena Shvartsman Cristiani, 2014
Circus Sarasota: “Texas” Jack Fulbright, 2014

high-definition single-channel generative videos with sound, custom frame
43 x 26 x 8.5 in / 109.2 x 66 x 21.6 cm

Circus Sarasota features five portraits of contemporary circus artists and is the outcome of an artist residency at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. They represent R. Luke DuBois’ latest investigation into performance portraiture. Given complete artistic freedom to select the subject of the commissioned work, he quickly settled on the contemporary circus performer because of the obvious importance to the Ringling legacy and the subject’s relevance to his own practice. Partnering with Circus Sarasota, a branch of The Circus Arts Conservatory, DuBois directed an extensive film shoot on the grounds of The Ringling and in The Historic Asolo Theater, tying together their shared histories.

Here, each performer is presented in a multi-shot collage of performance. Filmed in high-definition video and slowed considerably in playback, individual details of the artistry not seen by the naked eye become focal points of interest. The works are also interactive. Motion sensors detect the viewer’s movement and the video scrubs, advances or rewinds, accordingly giving the viewer an active role in the experience.

The multi-framed, multi-shot style of Circus Sarasota is based on DuBois’ research conducted in The Ringling archives over the course of a year-long residency. His presentation is reminiscent of late-19th- and early 20th -century circus advertising posters, particularly those produced by the Strobridge Lithographing Company. Here the contemporary pays homage to the great historic lineage of circus-related visual culture.

This project was commissioned by curator Dr. Matthew McLendon at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

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