Sideshow adopted the spatial logic of the circus sideshow as an allegorical blueprint for exhibition display. Popular from the 1850s until the mid 20th century, circus sideshows situated each individual ‘exhibit’ within a makeshift tent structure. The architectural logic of these self-enclosed spaces exploited the tension between concealment and revelation. The tents were designed to cultivate anticipation and deliver shock and awe. Their fabric walls masked displays of the exotic and the other; biological or ethnological oddities were placed on podiums and peddled as human spectacles. Sideshow re-staged the exchange between the unseen and the exposed. A series of micro-exhibitions were contained within freestanding tents erected in the gallery. Pulling back the curtain, the viewer was confronted with a profusion of grotesque and manipulated bodies. In these partitioned and screened spaces the body became a curiosity and the object became a performative agent.
Participating artists, Pat Brassington, David Capra, Christopher Day, Charles Dennington, Heath Franco, Andrew Hazewinkel, Matthew Hopkins, Emily Hunt, Anna John, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Polixeni Papapetrou, Sarah Parker, Tom Polo