At a Glance
Circus Portraits, photography by Carolina Furque. Opens at the FCC Angkor on August 9. Opening-night reception with the photographer begins at 6 p.m. Closes September 8, 2007.
The FCC Permanent Collection, four decades of Cambodian history in photographs.
Often blurring the line between illusion and reality, Carolina Furque’s “Circus Portraits” features the secret lives of circus performers in Argentina and France.
On display at the FCC Angkor beginning August 9, the work of the renowned Argentina-born artist shows a different aspect of the circus archetypes so well known to many: the strongman, exotic animal and the flying trapeze.
But she never captured images at a circus performance.
“I never shot the show. All the time I was in the back where they were getting ready, or after the performance,” Furque explains. “The images stem from very early memories from childhood. The circus performers in Argentina are very poor. The show is in homage to these people. The things they’ve learned to do and their lives.”
The 16-piece exhibition is entirely in stark black and white. The cacophony and lurid colors of a circus have been rendered dark and mysterious. Furque’s work focuses on magic, fantasy and the contrast of far different realities.
“It’s a very vivid topic, and very much a childhood topic. It’s an incredible art also. I was attracted by that,” Furque says.
The 36-year-old Furque, who has had shows in Argentina, Chile and Paris, is self-taught. She is known for using unusual cameras and old-school darkroom techniques. Some of her previous work is luminous and haunting — creating a world of shadows and mystery.
“The contrast between the performers in Argentina and Paris was amazing. In France it was a refined show. The entertainers learned to play different things and had good educations,” she says. “In Argentina, they are doing this work because their grandfather did.”
Furque’s circus photographs suggest that something deeper is going on — the viewer is not quite sure where the line is drawn between illusion and reality.
“I just remember when I was a child. I was very interested in what was going on and all the tricks. When I went back to take the pictures I could understand better, but there was still some magic,” Furque says. “Even in the shows of poor performers, this effort to make this — this fantasy — was still there.”
Furque’s work can be found in the Polaroid Collection in the U.S.A., the Bibliotheque National de France, and private collections in Europe and South America.