Visitors to the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath this spring will be able to see the Sharmanka Travelling Circus, a mechanical theatre that will delight visitors of all ages. The show runs from from 23 February to 7 May 2019.
Sharmanka, from the Russian word for barrel organ, combines sound and movement with striking images to make for a humorous and at times slightly macabre experience.
The moving sculptures are the work of artist and inventor Eduard Bersudsky, who left Russia for Scotland in 1993. Collaborating with theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya and light and sound designer Sergey Jakovsky, Eduard began producing his kinetic sculptures in 1974 as a protest against the prevailing Soviet ideology.
The works incorporate pieces of old furniture, scrap metal and grotesque carved figures. Examples include Swinging Big Ben in which Time is moved on, cheerily and cheekily, by a menagerie of industrious little creatures. In The Eternal Triangle of Love the jolly Harlequin and sad Pierrot – characters from the Italian commedia dell’arte – have been competing for the love of Columbine for so long that they have not noticed her transformation into the figure of Death.
There will be a free family activity, Big Top Bonanza, on Wednesday 17 April, where children can create a theatrical picture fit for the Big Top (10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm).
Jon Benington, Manager of the Victoria Art Gallery, said, “Local residents will be able to enjoy the exhibition for free with a Discovery Card, and there will be free talks and family activities linked to the show.”