Tianzhuo Chen: Ishvara

Wiener Festwochen, 12 May – 18 June 2017

Photo: Zhang Yan

The young artist Tianzhuo Chen, enfant terrible of the Chinese art scene, proves that it’s possible to love both Buddha and South Park. The opening production of the Wiener Festwochen 2017 is a statement on global pop culture and a declaration of love to avant-garde subcultures from all over the world. With his scenic pictorial compositions, he creates stimulation spaces that create a hypnotic state through targeted overloading. The result is a visual and acoustic undertow, which can be understood as a new definition of the genre "opera" in its associative power and its bombast.

The contemporary opera happening Ishvara is inspired by the Hindu epic Bhagavad Gītā. In the live performance, the total mutual interpenetration of music and dance styles, bodies, and images propels the stage characters into individual versions of divinity. They know how to use the big stage for their carnival of conflict. Reality turns into fantasy – or into the next drug trip. With great precision, the artist examines history and religion in order to grasp – from his personal perspective – our human existence and spiritual exploitation in the modern world. Part of a young generation of artists, Tianzhuo Chen works skillfully between the disciplines of installation, performance, video, drawing, and photography. His works exhale the atmosphere of an underground party, and yet follow the inner logic of ceremonies. He combines his advanced knowledge of elements and symbols from religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, shamanism) with codes from subcultures (drag, rave, cartoons, hip-hop) and dance history (butoh, voguing). Like a master of alchemy, he distills and sublimates societal conditions into feverish stage atmospheres. Be there when the high priest of contemporary art turns the Wiener Festwochen public into his new followers!

Born in Beijing in 1985 and educated at Central Saint Martin’s College in London, Tianzhuo Chen is one of the most promising young artists of China. In 2015, he mounted a solo exhibition in the famous Palais de Tokyo in Paris. His works can also be seen in Berghain in Berlin, at Fashion Weeks in London and Shanghai, and in various international galleries. A new production will be premiered at the steirischer herbst 2017 in Graz.





Leading Team and Cast

Director Tianzhuo Chen
Text Tianzhuo Chen, Beio
Choreography Tianzhuo Chen, House Of Drama (Ylva Falk, Igor Dewe, Aymeric Bergada Du Cadet, Amélie Poulain, Dyna Dagger), Kirikoo Des, Ndoho Ange
Artistic Consulting/Production Management Petra Poelzl
Music Nodey, Aïsha Devi, Kakushin Nishihara, VagusNerve

Light design Tanida Akihiko
Video FL production

With Beio, China Yu, House Of Drama (Ylva Falk, Igor Dewe, Aymeric Bergada Du Cadet, Amélie Poulain, Dyna Dagger), Kirikoo Des, Ndoho Ange, JoJo, Sophie Schodl, Mariho Hata, Luciano Baptiste, Katy Clay, Meike Recktenwald, Magdalena Böhnisch, Mzamo Nondlwana, Yuri Yoshimura, Harald Hermann, Ivanka Hermann


Sat, 13. May , 20:00 
Sun, 14. May , 20:00 
Mon, 15. May , 20:00

Halle E, MuseumsQuartier

EUR 48,- / 39,- / 32,- / 25,- / 18,- / 11,-

2 hr 20 min, no interval

14. May, 7.30 pm, Foyer Halle E+G MuseumsQuartier

Discussion with the audience:
15. May, after the performance

More information on Tianzhuo Chen at Wiener Festwochen.