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1954, Flying-trapeze performers

Stic B sur Papier | Collection particulière

About this work, Mennessons jotted down himself: ”already expressed in concrete writing”. The circus world had always attracted him and he regularly attended circus performances at Cirque d’Hiver and Cirque Médrano in Paris, but also travelling shows in big tops. What appealed to him, besides the magic and the humour of the clowns, was the permanent risk taken by artists like these flying-trapeze performers and concealed by their glittering costumes and the gracefulness of their performances together with their courage and perseverance which makes them try again and again when they have failed until they manage to perform their item successfully. The tension is visible in this large canvas in which the white rectangles of the bodies are captured at the very instant when two trapezes swing forward, encircled by blue strokes which make them stand out against the bright orange of the background. Mennessons has managed to capture this fraction of a second within the space of the canvas. This is one of the challenges he had taken up when he started painting. In 1961 he illustrated the catalogue of the 31st gala of the United Artists with a linocut: Albert Fratellini.

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