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Performance — 12 Feb 2015

New performance by artist Taocheng Wang, based on the famous story of princess Kaguya: Two Sights of the Elegant Mysterious Unearthly Princess Kaguya & Her Beggarly Nurtured Aristocratic Life Before She Flies Away With a Shining Ship

Entrance fee to the Stedelijk Museum + € 2.50
Teijin Auditorium, Stedelijk Museum
12 Feb 2015, 7 pm until 7.45 pm
Main language
Via reservations@stedelijk.nl 

The Stedelijk Museum is delighted to present the first large-scale performance by Amsterdam-based artist Taocheng Wang. Based on the famous 10th century Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Wang’s performance explores the narrative of the fairy tale, with its overly familiar cultural and moral references.

The main protagonist of the performance is Princess Kaguya, a figure similar to many fairytales characters that we know and have been incorporated into our collective memory. She is a mythical creature of unknown origin and unknown destination. The princess goes by many names, Princess of the Moon, the Daughter of the Bamboo Cutter, the Guardian of the Great Mountain, the Child of the Emperor – like a collage that resembles the many colors of her kimonos. A work of proto-science-fiction, the original tale explains that she was born out of a golden tree, matured rapidly into a beautiful young woman and returned to the sky with a piercing light. Five princes sought her hand in marriage and she responded by presenting them five impossible tasks. The princes cheated and paid for their lies with their lives. Slaughtered by a dragon, devoured by the fire-rat of China and famished on a deserted island, Princess Kaguya sealed their fate.

In her work, Wang is interested in how ostensibly fixed notions of sexuality, identity, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background constitute our behavior, social class, and interpersonal relations. In Two Sights of the Elegant Mysterious Unearthly Princess Kaguya & Her Beggarly Nurtured Aristocratic Life Before She Flies Away With a Shining Ship, the artist takes the protagonist Princess Kaguya’s persona as a canvas to project her own desires, fantasies, and secrets onto – as we often do with fairytales. In this process, Wang identifies with the heroine that she portrays and makes Kaguya’s emotions, or the lack thereof, her own. The performance is a fairy tale with no happy ending, no big life lesson at the end, no moral. Yet far from being a nihilistic interpretation, Wang’s fairy tale invites us into a realm where the question of who we want to be overrules the answer.

More information about the artist:

Taocheng Wang's art practice derives from painting, which she had done for over 10 years while in China. She continued her education in Germany (Städelschule) and the Netherlands (De Ateliers). During this time, Wang started experimenting with video, film, and performance, which resulted in work that combines a straightforward, at times confrontational, tone with highly emotional, poetic, and uncanny undercurrents. Her work is best considered as a collage, showing a mirror of intimate images, trying to make explicit what otherwise remains lurking in the shadows. Wang currently lives and works in Amsterdam.

As part of the performance, Wang also presents the film Forest, A Man, A Baby & Aristocratic Life.The video work, co-commissioned by the C.o.C.A. Foundation (Rotterdam), is currently on display as a two-channel video and sound installation at the Rotterdam-based art space Tale of a Tub.


Richard de Maaré (film) ..................... As Kaguya's adopted father
Lieke  Joosen (performance) ……… As Kaguya's Court Maid
Taocheng Wang (performance)......  As princess Kaguya

Film production:                           neuzeit.tv GbR
Director:                                      Taocheng Wang
Assistant Director:                        Patrick Alan Banfield
Cinematography:                          Nicolas C.Geissler
Composer and Sound Designer:     Sascha Blank
Costume Design:                          YOBU Shanghai