Images of the Contemporary Circus Artist
Photographs by Bertil Nilsson. Essay by Laura Noble.
Canalside Books, London, 2011. In English and French. 140 pp., 92 duotone images, 11½x9¾".
Swedish-born photographer Bertil Nilsson has worked for 5 years with circus artists throughout Europe and North America to explore and document contemporary circus from a new perspective. This book is the result of Bertil’s collaboration with 47 circus artists.
The black and white images of the performers, all naked, working on their skills in training spaces, are accompanied by an essay by writer and curator Laura Noble and a foreword by acclaimed circus creator Daniele Finzi Pasca. The project represents a unique unseen view of the circus community, exploring a multitude of acrobatic and aerial disciplines through a common visual thread.
From the artist's statement:
Through meeting circus artists I gained an insight into the sort of commitment required to train for circus. I started working on Undisclosed as a long-term project to create a document of contemporary circus practice. I collaborated with a mixture of performers but I removed all the attributes of performance – the stage, the lighting, the costume and the makeup - to focus on their physicality and the process of creating circus.
Over the course of the project, my understanding of circus, and how it could be explored visually, grew. Through collaboration with the artists I found ways to choreograph circus for the camera, experimenting with movement, exposure times and my own location within the space.