Carrie Battista
The Bird Cage GirlsThe Bird Cage GirlsPractice Makes PerfectBig TopBig TopSnake BellyCome and See!Come and See Too!Come and See Too! (detail)Lost in a CrowdInside the RingBehind The ScenesBehind The Scenes (detail)The Elephant Tent " Colossal"The Elephant Tent (back view)The Girl with Two Hearts TentThe Girl with Two Hearts Tent (back view)The Human TerrierThe Human Terrier (back view)The Itty Bitty Lady TentThe Itty Bitty Lady Tent (back view)The Siamese Twins TentThe Siamese Twins Tent (back view)
Circus Statement

Traveling sideshows have always fascinated me. I feel that living the artist’s lifestyle parallels that of the performers on display - alienated, nomadic and continually on exhibit. I frequently find myself being the subject of observation as I make my work. With the hot shop as my stage I am forced into the role of the performer, leaving me feeling self-conscious and exposed.

The blown glass circus tents that I create are representations of those performers that I feel a connection to. The “freaks” on exhibit manipulate illusion and reality for the sake of entertainment. People are drawn to these spectacles because while they present themselves as normal, they are aware of their own flaws and how easily they could be exposed. These performers have become powerful symbols of a common anxiety that underneath the apparent normality of our bodies we are as divided as the Conjoined Twins, as fragmented as the Human Torso, and as excessive as the World’s Heaviest Man.

Using precious metal leaf, I gild the interior wall of my glass tents and scratch drawings into the surface. Applying reverse painting techniques, I seal the metals from tarnishing or deteriorating while at the same time adding color. Inside each tent is a mirror distorting the viewer’s image to match the remarkable characteristic of that particular performer. My intention is for viewers to see themselves inside the tents and realize that we are all living curiosities.