In Victorian times, freak shows and carnivals delighted crowds with the macabre and grotesque.
That same voyeuristic streak is the concept behind a brand new type of art exhibition debuted here in Tauranga.
Three local artists have put a remarkable spin on the usual two dimensional art exhibition.
Forget standing around sipping wine discussing art ... be enthralled by The Midnight Circus, an exhibition that throws at visitors a medley of art, theatre, photography and music all based on the culture of a Victorian circus and carnival life.
Artist Simone Anderson says they wanted to break the mould of art exhibitions and present more of a "pop-up book" of arts.
"There's so much work that goes into art, you kind of want it to get some attention. So we came up with this idea to base an exhibition on the Victorian circus and carnival.
"We just like the idea of showcasing the unusual and it mirrors real life ... we tend to like things that are a little bit quirky and different with a bit of fantasy."
The artists are Anderson, Lynette Fisher, and Skye Carson-Wilson.
Anderson concentrates on those intriguing carnival icons, Fisher is known for her pencil and ink stained vignettes, and tattoo artist Carson-Wilson depicts "sombre beauties".
The artists say they "share an idiosyncratic perspective on life and our work emphasises the fine line between what is real and what is not. The works reconstruct our relationship to what is considered safe and what can be trusted in a world full of sideshows."
There is also a provocative exhibition of photographs by photography and design business Pushinguppixels Creative.
The opening night show will be the main event. Anderson likens it to being part of flashmob with the help of a theatre company from Hamilton.
Throughout the exhibition (May 25-June 15) at Gallery 59 there will be random circus performances, jugglers, balloon demonstrators, buskers, musicians, puppet shows, dance groups and more.
Children's art workshops with a circus theme are also offered. Guests are also invited to dress in Victorian carnival circus theme.
Photos by http://pushinguppixels.co.nz