Tianzhuo Chen


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video (colour, sound)
2 hr 4 min 4 sec
Inspired by the Hindu sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, the more than two-hour long video work, Ishvara (2016), was originally conceived during a train journey in India, to Varanasi. The word ‘Ishvara’ has many meanings; one of them is an alternate name for Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. In a work described as conceptual burlesque, Chen again used performers, costumes, props and his design of the exhibition space to hallucinatory effect. The video is based on a psychedelic operatic performance in seven acts, intended to create an experience for audiences that allows them to ‘transcend the physical materiality of their bodies.’ Ishvara was essentially a theatrical performance, owing much to Artaud’s ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ and the ‘Poor Theatre’ theory and practice of Jerzy Grotowski, as well as to shamanism. Chen continues to work collaboratively with musicians, artists, dancers, stylists and DJs, including the Paris-based ‘House of Drama’ collective and Swiss electronic artist Aisha Devi.
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