Chinese artist Tianzhuo Chen combines quotations from pop, folklore and commerce to create a global snapshot between kitsch and apocalypse. A live stream of consciousness in the rhythm of music.
With his premiere for steirischer herbst, Tianzhuo Chen stages a dark and, at the same time, upbeat pop opera in which instrumental live sounds mingle with pumping beats and where big-city fashion arrogance meets the camouflage jackets of Chinese farmers. The audience moves around an installation-style auditorium in which cultural codes and iconographic figures are dissected and meticulously reassembled by performers and musicians. The material for this hybrid, ecstatic ghoulishness comes from global club culture and corporate identities, from folklore and social media, and, not least, from discourses on “the Asian” and “the European” in which the East dreams up a West and vice versa.
Tianzhuo Chen is one of the most prominent exponents of a young generation of Chinese artists who celebrate with great self-confidence the extravagance and self-elected exoticisation of a commercialised Asian identity. For his objects, performances and video works he designs colourful grotesque imagery replete with references to Buddhism and LGBT symbolism, Butoh and drag, thus forging a direct link between the demise of outdated ideas on morality and traditional faith systems.
Direction Tianzhuo Chen
Concept Tianzhuo Chen, Petra Poelzl
With Beio, China Yu, Le Brothers (Le Ngoc Thanh & Le Duc Hai), House of Drama (Ylva Falk, Igor Dewe, Amélie Poulain)
Dramaturgy and management Petra Poelzl
Choreography Tianzhuo Chen, Ylva Falk
Costume design asiandopeboys
Set Tianzhuo Chen, artbox Graz
Composition Dis Fig
Music Dis Fig, Igor Dewe
Project management assistant Christina Romirer
Commissioned by steirischer herbst
Co-produced by Spielart Festival, Spring Festival Utrecht
Residency by Centre National de la Danse in the frame of accueil compagnies
Head of project management Dominik Jutz
Project management Philipp Forthuber
Technical management Karl Masten
Project management Kurt Schulz
Tianzhuo Chen (CN)
Tianzhuo Chen, born in Beijing in 1985, is a multidisciplinary artist who lives in Shanghai and Beijing. While still studying graphic design and fine arts in London, his works were already on show in group exhibitions in New York, Berlin and Shanghai. In 2011 he joined Xinyi Liu to present his first solo show “The Great Exhibition”. Since then, his oeuvre has been constantly widening and meanwhile includes performance and video works (among others, in cooperation with Aïsha Devi, who performed at steirischer herbst in 2016). These works also feature the key elements of Chen’s artistic work: a colourful and grotesque aesthetic replete with references to religious, traditional practices and LGBT imagery. The latest work by Tianzhuo Chen, “An Atypical Brain Damage”, is set to première at steirischer herbst.