Dorothy Circus Gallery, founded in 2007 in Rome, embodies the city’s cosmopolitan and circus-like nature by showcasing global artists across styles. The gallery, named for its theatrical essence, treats its space as a stage, offering timeless, memory-evoking exhibitions. Grounded in values from “The Memoirs of Hadrian,” it bridges modernity with the past through surrealist-inspired art. Founder Alexandra’s unconventional journey and commitment to reviving figurative art define the gallery’s mission, balancing a timeless identity with innovative expressions. Uniquely, the gallery promotes social missions, focuses on Asian artists, and stands out for its avant-garde vision, strong identity, and a broad spectrum of artistic styles, from classical to street art.
The Genesis of Dorothy Circus Gallery in 2007
The Worlds Times: How did the founding of Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome in 2007 align with the city’s cosmopolitan and circus-like nature, as described in the provided text?
1.Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Gallery window featuring works by SETH, Courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery
2. Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Sublime Introspections Opening reception featuring Mayuka Yamamoto, Moe Nakamura and Karin Iwabuchi, Photo Courtesy of Federica Iannella
Alexandra replied, “Rome is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city and attracts diverse people from all over the world. Dorothy Circus’ offering appeals to those with discerning, eclectic tastes and a sense of culture. The Gallery itself reflects this cosmopolitanism because we represent artists from all over the world across a range of styles and movements.
I describe Rome as circus-like because it
is a fabulous and dreamlike circus capital due to its stage-like nature, and the mythological and divine legends. Rome is a tangible place of changes and recourses in the history of man and of his art in a story of the history of art and of past and contemporary humanity.
It is also a magical spectacle. It beguiles the viewer. This is what we create at Dorothy Circus – a connection with magical and dynamic nature, celebrating a sense of immortality, mythology and spirit through art.”
Unveiling the Theatrical Essence
The Worlds Times: The connection between the gallery’s name and the stage like nature of Rome. How does this connection influence the gallery’s approach to presenting art and engaging with its audience?
3. Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Do Not Open Before 2023 by MILLO, Opening reception, Photo Courtesy of Federica Iannella
4.Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Bon Appétit by Afarin Sajedi, Opening reception, Photo Courtesy of Federica Iannella
Alexandra replied, “Our gallery space is a beautiful stage on which we showcase our works. It creates another-worldly, evocative experience to those who visit. Our exhibitions are always tied to a sense of timelessness and memory, which is universally relatable. Our audiences engage with this because we create an experience which speaks to the very spirit of what it means to be human.”
The Worlds Times: The reference to Humanitas, Felicitas, and Libertas from “The Memoirs of Hadrian” by Yourcenar suggests a philosophical underpinning for Dorothy Circus Gallery. How does the gallery incorporate these values into its mission and exhibitions?
5.Dorothy Circus Gallery London: Sublime Introspections Opening reception featuring Mayuka Yamamoto, Moe Nakamura and Karin Iwabuchi, Photo Courtesy of @ameliebolshoiphotography
6.Dorothy Circus Gallery London: AMORE An Ode to Love by Fatima Ronquillo, Opening Reception, Photo Courtesy of @ameliebolshoiphotography
Alexandra replied, “Art is a vital way of connecting to the past, of remembering where we have come from and what it means to be human. Humanity, happiness, and freedom are all values that are fundamental to individual flourishing, and all values to which art is inextricably tied. Our exhibitions and curatorial choices reflect a unique avant-garde mission whilst remaining true to these values. Our mission is to bridge this sense of modernity with the ethereal nature of the past, which is achieved through supporting surrealist-inspired figurative artists who are reminiscent of the Renaissance and Baroque masters.”
Navigating the Journey
The Worlds Times: What was the path you took to get to where you are today?
7.Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Do Not Open Before 2023 by MILLO, Opening reception, Photo Courtesy of Federica Iannella
8. Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Neon and Fire Vanitas by Alex Face, Opening reception, Photo Courtesy of Federica Iannella
Alexandra replied, “My path to where I am today was somewhat unconventional. I was fortunate to grow up surrounded by creativity and fell in love at a young age with the Romantics and Renaissance. After my education, I spent time in Venice where I worked as a studio assistant to sculptors and painters. Returning to Rome, I became involved in theatre, where I worked as a scenographer and stage photographer for a ballet theatre company, designing scenery for shows that staged at the Olympic Theatre in Rome and at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
I began my journey as an Artist’s Agent organically. I had been hosting private salons in my home for friends, which soon turned into organizing artist commissions. I later became acquainted with the Pop Realism movement during time spent in the United States. I began to see parallels between what was happening there and the underground scenes in Venice and Rome.
After returning to Rome, I felt strongly that there was space for a gallery that would revive these artistic figurative expressions, and so was born Dorothy Circus Gallery. We later opened a sister gallery in London in 2017.”
The Inspirations Behind DOROTHYCIRCUSGALLERY
The Worlds Times: Why did you start “DOROTHYCIRCUSGALLERY”?
9. Dorothy Circus Gallery London: Exhibition Hall, Blue Breeze by Yokoteen, Opening Reception, Photo Courtesy of @ameliebolshoiphotography
10.Dorothy Circus Gallery London: Sublime Introspections Opening reception featuring Mayuka Yamamoto, Moe Nakamura and Karin Iwabuchi, Photo Courtesy of @ameliebolshoiphotography
Alexandra replied, “I started Dorothy Circus Gallery with my mother, Maddalena di Giacomo as I wanted to create a space in which figurative art could be reborn. At the time we opened, this art wasn’t enjoying much popularity. But I saw that contemporary society would respond to it as a means of expressing the nuances and complexity of our present day – and its beauty.”
Harmony of Progress and Identity
The Worlds Times: In what ways does Dorothy Circus Gallery balance being open to the future while maintaining a strong identity and awareness?
11.Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Stravolti by Marion Peck, Opening Reception, Courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery
12. Dorothy Circus Gallery Rome: Lingering Thoughts of the Cyber Punk World by Kazuki Takamatsu, Opening Reception, Photo Courtesy of Federica Iannella
Alexandra replied, “I look at contemporary art as an evolving, transversal thing. However, art – in all its forms – has this transcendental nature. It is timeless in its ability to evoke emotion and invite introspection. We look for this quality in the artists we represent. Whilst our artists all have this sentimental quality of timelessness, they also are innovative with a modern perspective. Balancing these two qualities ensures that Dorothy Circus retains a strong sense of identity and resonance with the past whilst supporting novel artistic expression.
In recent years, we have focused on selecting art that has a social mission. For example, we promote female narratives through exhibitions on topics such as gender equality and women’s rights. We represent several prominent street artists whose work provides a commentary on current cultural and social issues.”
Framing the Future
The Worlds Times: How does the gallery’s avant-garde mission and visions shape its selection of artists and artworks for exhibition?
13.Dorothy Circus Gallery London: 2019 Ecce Mulier Opening Reception, Artwork being photographed by Guests, Coney island supper club by Joe Sorren, Courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery
14. Dorothy Circus Gallery London: Snow in the Summer by Ryoko Kaneta, Opening Reception, Photo Courtesy of @ameliebolshoiphotography
Alexandra replied, “Dorothy Circus focuses on artists who are original and technically able but who also express this surreal, dreamlike nuance. We select our artists and curate our exhibitions with the evocation of sentiment, memory and timelessness in mind.
Our commitment to promoting thought-provoking and avant-garde talent has seen us recently turn our attention to Asian artists, who are communicating a visual language with characteristics from both Western art tradition and their own cultural roots.”
Strategies & Competitive Edge
The Worlds Times: What are the strategies of “DOROTHYCIRCUSGALLERY” and how do you stand unique from your competitors?
15.Dorothy Circus Gallery London: 2019 Ecce Mulier_Solo Exhibition by Afarin Sajeid_featuring Artwork Ecce Homo by Afarin Sajedi, Courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery
16. Dorothy Circus Gallery London: What I’ve Seen So Far Group Exhibition Opening Reception, Courtesy of Dorothy Circus Gallery
“I believe that we are unique from our competitors not only because we have continually pioneered niche, avant-garde movements and supported artists toward commercial success, but because of our vision and ethos. We have always had a strong sense of identity and will remain true to that – this is what sets us apart from other galleries.
Our team possesses a strong knowledge of art history and a unique research and curatorial approach that are rarely seen in contemporary art galleries. We interview and curate the content of all our artists with a wide-vision approach, selecting works that are meaningful both in past and present contexts. Our catalogue is broad as we present masters but also scout and cultivate new talent spanning from magic realism, to classical, to street art and new Asian pop trends.” Alexandra concluded
Visit DOROTHYCIRCUSGALLERY to learn more