The Grock Villa and the Clown Museum

Villa Grock, a.k.a. the “Villa Bianca”, in Imperia, Liguria, is a monument and a unique site. Grock worked with Armando Brignole to design it. The characteristic note of this stylistic construction was Brignole’s imaginative, personal and rich “Liberty style”, ideal for the extravagant mansion of an eccentric clown. Grock played a fundamental role throughout the entire house project history. The villa and the park had to the recompose the owner’s spirituality, his way of understanding and living life. Their design and decoration give an almost alienating sensation to the visitor because of their baroque redundancy. As a maximum rationality, combined with constant references to symbolic details and to the latest technologies, the result of this concerted work was a structure able to astonish, surprise and be a stage for the representative functions for which it was designed: the rooms were ideal for Grock’s circus ring, for inviting friends to parties and meetings, and for the creation of his shows, gags and music. It can be said without the fear of contradiction that the Grock Villa really is the home of the Clowns’ King, in its literal sense and without any irony. Symbolic elements referring to an almost continuous mystery trigger can be found throughout the villa’s architecture: Grock’s self-initiation journey through the lights of his mystery and metaphorical beliefs. The villa’s entire symbol system in fact reveals Grock’s personality splitting: he can, on the one hand, be directed towards the lite and carefree reality (actually profound and subtle) that defines the clown’s humoristic figure, and, on the other hand, towards the world’s darkest and most disturbing life mysteries.

The sumptuous and original residence of the greatest clown in history, Grock, is reborn thanks to a unique cultural route, based on new technologies. An exciting, immersive and magical journey dedicated to circus professionals and, in particular, to the Clown art has been imagined in this exemplary restored Villa.

The route goes, with a subtle reference to elegant music, as a creative journey through the clown’s common gestures and expressions, insolent jokes and corrosiveness. The guest is immersed in a fabulous setting and reflected in magical mirrors. He opens wonder closets where ancient happy merry ghosts appear out of nowhere. He is in his own “Alice in Wonderland”, that is in an unexpected place between laughter and nostalgia, between East and West, between culture and evidence of physical prowess. The circus’ world, made of sounds, colors and smells that everyone has known at least once in their lifetime, has always given birth to an intense fascination immediately capturing the imagination. Writers and artists have always been sensitive to the wanderers’ appeal and inspired by these fantastic exotic influences to revive, almost as in a dream, acrobats, dancers, jugglers and clowns who have constantly captured the spectators’ imagination. The circus’ microcosm’s sudden street appearance and ephemeral passage make it magical: it somehow always disappears in thin air again!