Exhibit in detail: Musical automaton “Levitation” (video)
Museum Collection is hosting thematic exhibition “Circus Parade”, dedicated to Parisian automata of the late 19th - early 20th centuries and fascinating circus life of that flamboyant era. The unique automaton “Levitation”, created in the 1910s by the firm Phalibois is among the exhibits on display.
By the 1900th, Phalibois headed a firm that produced unique and varied art items. The skilled artisans that worked in the firm created single mechanical puppets and groups of them, mechanical singing birds and animated musical pictures, domestic scenes. Most of the Phalibois' automata were relatively large, between 70 and 120 cm in height, with refined and graceful figures and unusual, sometimes grimace-like facial expressions.
Automaton “Levitation” belongs to this group of mechanical rarities. It reproduces a magical picture: the illusionist casts a spell, waves his magic wand and the assistant's body begins to rise slowly, as if floating in the air. After a while, the maestro passes a hoop around the assistant's body, demonstrating to the audience that there is no support. Then the assistant sinks down on the sofa and waves her fan around affectingly, as if from the overflowing emotion after the magic experience.