The Clown symbol
Clowns are human beings disguised in a grotesque manner to cause pause and surprise that often lead to laughter. There is a long history for clowns and harlequins throughout the history of mankind. There are masks of the Dugon tribe in Africa dating 2000 years ago as ancient Chinese masks mocking funny human gestures, clowns appear in the Etruscan culture and in the Aborigines rituals, so they are not a regional territorial invention but a wide spread human phenomenon.
The real question is why? Why there is a need to mock real life and to make people laugh about it?
The answer to my understanding is an outer way of viewing oneself; this can be the definition for art as well. The process of another view, a higher view, a new understanding of a life event or behavior can be an elevating moment. Usually we live within the same area and patterns, but from time to time there is an occasion to change. It can be in great danger of losing our lives or the lives of our dear ones, it can be a rare moment of revelation, at this moment we can see ourselves from a different angle. From some rare occasions it happened to me I saw how ridiculous my life looked like and what enormous important I gave to petty things.
Masks and clowns can evoke the same notions instantly, because it is easier to criticize another person and to project on him our deficiencies. Clowns can show us how mean, cruel, fragile we can be and that there is an enormous gap between what we show the world and what we really are.
The laughter from a clown appearance and extravagant play is but a sigh of relief that it is him that is on the stake and makes fun out of himself, not me. But is it? those that dare to stand up on a stage and speak the truth about their lives are much braver than those laughing in the crowd. The laugh of the crowd is short because in many cases there is a pause to think, this is me he is talking about, because every human has moments of weakness, sexy hidden thoughts, getting rich in phony ways, dreaming big and doing nothing, visiting places that don t exist, marrying woman that never been born or men that are a puzzle of 7 man altogether. All those human whims and wishes are the wheat for the clown’s bread.
So it is the clown pointing at you not you pointing at the clown, and if you are surrounded by clowns better be a clown than remain laughing in the crowd.
In the cycle of life painting series I use the clown as an arrow sign to reality. Look what is inside you and don't think that if you hide it the crowd around you won’t see and laugh behind your back.
I call my clowns with prefixes like: sad clown, wounded clown, lonely clown to point that it is the clowns in the audience I am interested in, those that haven’t yet realized that our cycle of life is so short and that it is better to be naked on the stage and shout: 'here I am', then laugh in the crowd and continue living denying who you really are.
Have magic in your life
Ted Barr, Perugia, May 2015