What little the public at large knows, on the other hand, circus history is often misunderstood and distorted. For instance, the only common denominator between Roman and modern circuses is the word itself, circus (lat.: circle) but not the racetracks. Created by the british cavalry Sergeant-Major Philip Astley, a genious horse-breacker, chose to imitate performing trick-riders. Another showmen, also an English equestrian of the 18th century, with other fellows, provided Astley with his inspiration.
After two seasons in London, he opened the Amphithéâtre Anglois, Paris’ first circus in 1782. Since these early days, showmen conquered the world and inspired artists such as George Seurat and Pablo Picasso.
From the early days of photography, circus has been a widespread topic, attracting the guests by the mélange of featherbrained amusement and geniously packed irony. The shown images of the series “Circus” by the swiss photographer Pit Buehler portray typical characters such as the omnipotent circus director, the acrobat beauty, the lion tamer or the mysterious illusionist. Buehlers highest demands of the perfect shot upheave the subject through it’s symbolic meaning to an icon. Exclusively invited by famous circuses, Buehler also portrayed artists in Russia and in Central Europe as at the 40th anniversary of the Monte Carlo Circus.