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In this current climate of economic gloom I see Pierrot as representing the common man, naively believing that the establishment had his interests at heart and is now paying the price for his gullibility by them stealing what little he has.
The figure is based on photographs by Adrien Tournachon of the mime artist Charles Deburau performing as Pierrot in 1845.
Pierrot was a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell'Arte whose origins are in the late 17th-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne. His character in post-modern popular culture - in poetry, fiction, the visual arts, as well as works for the stage, screen, and concert hall - is that of the sad clown, pining for love of Columbine, who usually breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin. The defining characteristic of Pierrot is his naivety - he is seen as a fool, always the butt of pranks, yet nonetheless trusting. It was a generally buffoonish Pierrot that held the European stage for the first two centuries of his history. And yet early signs of a respectful, even sympathetic attitude toward the character appeared in the plays of Jean-François Regnard and in the paintings of Antoine Watteau, an attitude that would deepen in the 19th century, after the Romantics claimed the figure as their own. For Jules Janin and Théophile Gautier, Pierrot was not a fool but an avatar of the post-Revolutionary. People, struggling, sometimes tragically, to secure a place in the bourgeois world. His physical insularity; his poignant muteness, the legacy of the great mime Deburau; his white face and costume, suggesting not only innocence but the pallor of the dead; his often frustrated pursuit of Columbine, coupled with his never-to-be vanquished unworldly naivety - all conspired to lift him out of the circumscribed world of the Commedia dell'Arte and into the larger realm of myth. Much of that mythic quality still adheres to the 'sad clown' of the post-modern era.
Bleached limewood,steamed pear and walnut
18 inches /45 cm high
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