Circus Portraits

Michael Dannenmann. Circus Portraits

Wilhelm-Fabry-Museum, Hilden
March 24 –June 2, 2024
Opening: March 24, 2024, 12 pm, at Kunstraum Gewerbepark-Süd


In addition to the "Portraits of Artists" exhibition in the Kunstraum, the Wilhelm Fabry Museum is showing the presentation "Circus Pictures" by Michael Dannenmann, one of the internationally renowned German representatives of contemporary portrait photography, in the Fassraum.

As with the "Portraits of Artists", he is interested in the theme of disguise, masquerade and slipping into a different role. For the portrait series, Dannenmann took the circus performers out of the circus ring and placed them in front of the camera, creating an authentic atmosphere full of quiet intimacy. His project began in 1986 with black and white shots in which he captured the individual performers in front of a neutral background in costume and, as a juxtaposition, without make-up and casually in private clothing. In 2016 and 2017, he again accompanied people from different nations in the circus and presented them, some of them in make-up and costume, in front of historical carriages. The unsteady life on the road is illustrated by the circus family's caravan. For example, the photographer shows the enchanting singer Marlitt Pallavicini in her evening dress next to the red curtain of her mobile circus empire. Dannenmann portrays the artist Mark Pieklo, who trained at the National Circus School in Canada and has developed a completely new genre of acrobatics with "Porteur Parallele". Leaning casually against the carriage, he looks confidently into the camera. His right hand rests on the strut of the window shutter above. A hand on which life literally hangs in the circus ring.


Of course, the circus must not be without a clown. It is Bertran Fulgenci Mestres, alias Gensi, the audience favorite at Roncalli, who is known on stage as the authoritarian clown and thus represents the world of adults. Dannenmann portrays him twice. "In his pictures, Dannenmann is able to play with the illusion of the circus world and bring us closer to people who perform a magical spectacle for us.


Benrather Straße 32a
40721 Hilden



Kunstraum Gewerbepark-Süd

Hofstraße 64

40723 Hilden




Available works of the artist

Michael Dannenmann, Ben Willikens, 2020
Michael Dannenmann, Ben Willikens, 2020
Michael Dannenmann, Markus Lüpertz, 2016
Michael Dannenmann, Markus Lüpertz, 2016
Michael Dannenmann, Konrad Klapheck, 2013
Michael Dannenmann, Fulgenci Mestres Bertran - Schauspieler, 2016, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Fulgenci Mestres Bertran - Weißclown Gensi, 2016, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Marlitt Pallavacini - Sängerin, 2016, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Paolo Casanova - Clown Carillon, 2016, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Trockadero, Boysie, 2013
Michael Dannenmann, Dennis Hopper, 1988, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Isabella Rossellini, 2009, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Pipilotti Rist, 1999, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Bryan Adams, 2013, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Catherine Batcheller, 1987, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Heinz Mack, 2008, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Julian Schnabel, 2010, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Moondog, 1992, © © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Norbert Tadeusz, 2010, © Michael Dannenmann
Michael Dannenmann, Otto Piene, 2011, © Michael Dannenmann

Past exhibitions at Beck & Eggeling


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