Evil Clowns

27. September 2014 - 08. March 2015 Dortmunder U, Level 3


In the international exhibition Evil Clowns, the Hartware MedienKunstVerein explores the ambivalent figure of the (evil) clown. "Send in the clowns!" (Frank Sinatra). The exhibition is centred on the figure of the evil clown in contemporary and popular culture (film, music videos, advertisement, political activism) by highlighting its inherent ambivalence and tracing its mutation from popular entertainer to creepy villain.

"Dangerous clowns are standing by the side of the road’", sang the Düsseldorf band Der Plan as early as 1979. The exhibition Evil Clowns explores the often disquieting figure of the clown, which has made an 'uncanny' career in recent years. Today (evil) clowns appear in a wide range of contexts including (anti-)advertisement (Ronald McDonald and various spoofs), political activism (The Yes Men), TV series (Krusty in The Simpsons), horror films and Hollywood productions (Killer Clowns from Outer Space; Pennywise in Stephen King’s It; the Joker as Batman’s opponent), pop music (Der Plan, The Residents) and in contemporary art. The masked jester makes us laugh – but behold: "There’s Nothing Funny About a Clown in the Moonlight" (Lon Chaney). This was again demonstrated recently by the Northampton Clown.

As part of the exhibition Evil Clowns HMKV cooperates with Jeu de Paume in Paris, who have commissioned the new work High Retention, Slow Delivery!! (2014) by Constant Dullaart (NL).

Design: labor b designbüro, Dortmund

Supported by:

Art Foundation of NRW (Kunststiftung NRW)

Kindly supported by:

Office for Visual Arts/Institut français

French Ministry for Culture and Communication/DGCA

Media partner:

ARTE Creative


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