Sound and movement combine with striking images in the Sharmanka Travelling Circus, making for a humorous and at times macabre experience.
Sharmanka, from the Russian for barrel organ, is a performing mechanical theatre sure to delight young and old.
Artist and inventor Eduard Bersudsky began making kinetic sculptures in 1974 in the Soviet Union, with no hope of official approval. In 1987, as the regime collapsed, Eduard met theatre director Tatyana Jakovskaya who suggested a fusion of the animated elements with music and dramatic lighting, creating a unique theatrical performance. Sharmanka launched to audiences in St. Petersburg in 1989, before moving to Scotland in 1993. The third member of the team is lighting and sound designer Sergey Jakovsky.
The works incorporate pieces of old furniture, metal scrap and grotesque carved figures. In Swinging Big Ben, time is moved on, cheekily and cheerily, by a host of industrious creatures. In The Eternal Triangle of Love, Harlequin and Pierotte have competed for the love of Columbine so long they have not noticed her transformation into the figure of Death. There are performances every hour which last 20 minutes.
Concurrent with Sharmanka Travelling Circus is the exhibition Lousie Bourgeois Prints.