The Clown Spirit

Curated by Joanna De Vos

From a playful imagination, a family history related to the circus, and close connections with

contemporary artists, the desire erupted to bring the clown and the artist together in ‘The Clown


Many artists have at least some affinity with the existence of the clown. The melancholic artist, the

serious clown, the comical artist, the tragic clown, the idiotic artist, the subversive clown, the

comforting artist, … They all have the gift to transcend life. To make their fellow humans see, feel, or

think differently. The clown/artist gives tragic life a comical face, and vice versa.

The artist/clown is a clone and a canvas of various symbols. In their own extremes, the artist/clown is

both modest and elated. That contradiction forms the energy flowing through ‘The Clown Spirit’.

‘The Clown Spirit’ shows contemporary artworks at De Rossaert in Antwerp, a space owned by Ronny

Van de Velde Gallery, between 16 October and 27 December 2020. The heartbeat of the exhibition is

due to the especially created self-portraits of many artists: Marina Abramović, Hugo Alonso, Homa

Arkani, Uldus Bakhtiozina, Fred Bervoets, Guillaume Bijl, Christian Boltanski, Elke Andreas Boon,

Muhiba Botan, Oona Bovri, Carlos Caballero, Jacques Charlier, Samuel De Maré, Wim Delvoye, Peter

Depelchin, Robert Devriendt, Jorik Dzobava, Sidi El Karchi, Manfred Erjautz, Dodi Espinosa, Chego Eun,

Jan Fabre, Mike Figgis, Flexboj & L.A., Michael Fliri, Sasha Frolova, Kendell Geers, Oda Jaune, Pieter

Jennes, Fermín Jiménez Landa, Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Mous Lamrabat, Sigalit Landau, William Ludwig

Lutgens, Fernando Marques Penteado, Kris Martin, Enrique Marty, Fabien Mérelle, Messieurs

Delmotte, Elena Minyeyevtseva, Pieter Laurens Mol, Jorge Molder, Mothmeister, Sofie Muller, Johan

Muyle, Maryam Najd, Nadia Naveau, Katie O’Hagan, Hans Op de Beeck, ORLAN, Ria Pacquée, Javier

Pérez, Petrovksy & Ramone, Antonis Pittas, Viktor Popov, Daniele Puppi, Antoine Roegiers, Julião

Sarmento, Rob Scholte, Raoul Servais, Nedko Solakov, Berend Strik, Elly Strik, Koen Theys, Rosemarie

Trockel, Jan Van Imschoot, Yves Velter, Nils Verkaeren, Fabien Verschaere, Henk Visch, Vadim Vosters,

Andy Wauman, Santiago Ydañez.

A classical and modern take on the theme will be on view simultaneously at Ronny Van de Velde

Gallery in Knokke. The two parts of the exhibition can be experienced separate from one another, but

are also a perfect addition and contextualization of each other.

‘The Clown Spirit’ is a prelude to a large-scale exhibition for the city of Namur where the theme of the

circus will be celebrated on several locations (such as Musée Félicien Rops, The Delta, and others –

opening May 2021). This exhibition will be an instantaneous, spontaneous activation of the acrobatics

of the spirit and the body. The concept will be created by Ronny and Jessy Van de Velde, and myself.

Joanna De Vos, Spring 2020.