Photo by Ren Xingxing
Photo by Ren Xingxing



Tianzhuo Chen: The Shepherd

Trailblazing Chinese millennial artist Tianzhuo Chen is a master in crossing and combining genres and media, freely mixing fields like performance, film, design, fashion and electronic music. Chen’s performances often mutate into independent video works, which in turn create new performative settings in combination with objects, paintings and spaces. For this year’s festival, his new exhibition draws on multiple older works such as ISHVARA and An Atypical Brain Damage while the installation in the main room from his recent movie The Dust. The Shepherd transforms a sprawling gallery into a festive space where mystical religious ritual meets rave. The title of the exhibition is based on the figure of the shepherd, which is used in many religions as a metaphor for the search for lost souls and thus as a starting point for spiritual transformation.

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Chen Tianzhuo
Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA
@KCUA 1, 2, Gallery B, C
2021.10.5 Tue.2021.10.31 Sun.
Closed on
Free admission
Planned by
KYOTO EXPERIMENT, Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA
Produced by
partner in crime
Organized by
Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival Executive Committee, Kyoto City University of Arts

Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA
Phone: +81-(0)75-253-1509
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Artist Profiles

Tianzhuo Chen
Born in 1985, Chen graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins and a master’s degree in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art in London before returning to China in 2012. After a string of exhibitions in China, Chen’s first overseas exhibition took place at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2015. Chen produces visual art as well as performance work. His objects, performances and video works use colorful, grotesque and kitsch imagery, with direct references to Asian spiritualism, LGBT iconographies, Butoh dance, voguing and club culture, touching upon themes from consumerism to transcendence and forging a connection between a collapse of moral attitudes and beliefs that surround us. Chen’s work interweaves precisely scripted stories, thoughts and political statements with ritualized happenings of self-empowerment related to contemporary club and counterculture.