Circus Europe is a project by Machteld van Buren and Peter van Lier.
Machteld van Buren is a visual artist. Her work is in the collections of different Dutch museums.
Peter van Lier is a poet. He published five volumes of poetry. Both artists live and work in The Netherlands.
Hardly a day goes by without a news report on the European Union. Didn't we rush headlong into a common currency without stopping to consider the consequences? We have come to realize that some of the members are unable to meet the EU's financial obligations. Many people are predicting the end of the euro. An uncertain and turbulent future awaits each of the member states. Disintegration is perhaps a more likely prospect than political union.
These uncertainties sparked the series of works titled Circus Europe, which were created by Machteld van Buren since 2012. In large collages she illustrates how the struggle for survival is being waged in various European countries. Some countries are depicted as an animal: the body consists of a map onto which the realistic head of an animal has been superimposed. Other countries are the playground for animals, performing their acts.The juggling acts which these animals have to perform to keep themselves going are indicative of how each nation functions. But how the stunts work is not entirely clear.
Each year Machteld van Buren will create new collages. The aim is to have at least one exhibition per year in an EU country. Local poets will be invited to give a reaction on one of the new collages, making sure to include an image of Europe's future.
Rather than leaving it to politicians to define the Europe of today and tomorrow, it is good to have artists depict it as well. Given the tone of the debate, alternatives with a playful or visionary element might actually be quite useful. So let the fun begin: 'Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Circus Europe!'
Find out more at: www.circus-eurpe.blogspot.be