Alexandra Bachzetsis | 4th New Europe International Festival: Love / 4th New Europe International Festival: Love

Play duration: 1 hour 25 minutes Tickets: 60/40 PLN

Alexandra Bachzetsis’s new piece 2020: Obscene uses body, text and image to explore the ambiguity of “scene” and “obscene”. Together with three co-performers she is focusing on the relationship between the staging of the excessive body and its consumption by the coveting gaze and the overwhelming textuality. On the one hand, the work examines the problems of theatre as a manipulation machine with regard to seduction, attraction and games of sexual identity; on the other hand, it explores the performing body itself as a place of alienation and limitation of the human being. The performers are confronted with their own corporealities – with the contradictions between intuition and gesture, light and night, score and script, norm and form, conception and action. The piece, thus, not only questions the subversive and the normative in performance art, but also addresses itself to communication through excess as a radical interruption of formats, gestures, cultural patterns and archetypes.

Alexandra Bachzetsis is a choreographer and visual artist, based in Zurich (CH). Her practice unfolds at the intersection of dance, performance, the visual arts and theater, generating a conflation of the spaces in which the body, as an artistic and critical apparatus, can manifest. This fundamentally interdisciplinary approach is reflected in her educational background. She studied and graduated at the Zürcher Kunstgymnasium (CH), the Dimitrischule in Verscio (CH), the Performance Education Program at the STUK arts centre in Leuven (BE), and then continued to post-graduate level at Das Arts, the Advanced Research in Theatre and Dance Studies centre in Amsterdam (NL). During these years of training, Bachzetsis began to work as a dancer in the contemporary dance and performance context, collaborating with Sasha Waltz & Guests (Berlin) and Les Ballets C. de la B. (Gent), among others. Collaboration, transference and a plurality of voices and bodies have informed Bachzetsis’ work ever since and is often thematized as a method of developing new work in her practice.

Much of Bachzetsis’s work involves choreographies of the body and, in particular, the way that popular culture provides source material for gesture, expression, identification, and fantasy as we continually create and re-create our bodies and the way we identify. Within this, she scrutinizes the mutual influence between the use of gesture and movement in the ‘popular’ or ‘commercial’ genres on the one hand (online media, video-clip and television as a resource) and in the ‘arts’ on the other hand (ballet, modern and contemporary dance and performance). For Bachzetsis, the artificial and often precarious relationship between such genres produce an inquiry into the human body and its potential for transformation, however conceptual or actual. Ultimately, the way we all perform and stage our bodies and ourselves – through stereotypes and archetypes, through choice and cliché, through labor and spectacle – is a question that continues to shape the work of Bachzetsis.

Since Bachzetsis started working independently in 2001, she has created over 30 pieces, often working collaboratively, which have been shown in theaters, festivals and public space venues worldwide. In addition to this, her work has been exhibited in a variety of contemporary art spaces and museums, including Kunsthalle Basel (Basel, 2008), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2013 and 2015), Tate Modern (London, 2014) and the Jumex Museum (Mexico City, 2014), as well as a number of international biennials, such as the 5th Berlin Biennial (Berlin, 2008), (d)OCUMENTA 13 (Kassel, 2012) and the Biennial of Moving Images (Geneva, 2014). Bachzetsis was nominated for the DESTE Prize (2011) and is a laureate of the Migros Kulturprozent Jubilee Award (2007), the Swiss Art Award (2011 and 2016) and Swiss Performance Prize (2012). In 2016, Bachzetsis participated in "The Parliament of Bodies" and "Continuum", Public Programmes at documenta 14. In January 2017, she presented Massacre: Variations on a Theme at MoMA, New York City. Later that year her work was included in documenta 14 exhibitions at Athens and Kassel. In June 2018 Alexandra Bachzetsis presented her performances „Private: Wear a mask when you talk to me“ and „Private Song“ at the High Line New York. „An Ideal for Living“ (2018), a solo exhibition at the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris opened and the performance „Escape Act“ (2018) premiered at Pact Zollverein in Essen (DE). Her work "Chasing a Ghost" was commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago and is touring Europe since 2019. Her most recent work, "2020: Obscene" premiered its theatre version in November 2021 at the Gessnerallee in Zurich, while the exhibition version was shown for the first time in a solo exhibition in spring 2022 at the Kunsthaus Zürich.

Text by Hendrik Folkerts

This text is partly reproduced in the entry on Alexandra Bachzetsis’s work for Sikart – Online-Lexikon für Kunst in der Schweiz (www.sikart.ch).


Concept and choreography: Alexandra Bachzetsis
Collaboration, concept and stage: Sotiris Vasiliou
Collaboration, concept and dramaturgy: Dorota Sajewska
Creation and performance: Alexandra Bachzetsis, Owen Ridley-Demonick, Tamar Kisch, 
Konstantinos Papanikolaou
Sound Design: Tobias Koch
Costume Design: Christian Hersche, Ulla Ludwig, Laurent Hermann Progin Communication Design: Julia Born
Photography: Melanie Hofmann
Hair and makeup: Delia Sciullo
Technical Direction and Light Design: Patrik Rimann
Technical Team: Alban Schelbert, Jon Brunke, Phil Hills, Valentin Biller

Production and Tour Management: Association All Exclusive, Franziska Schmidt Production Assistant: Juliana Simonetti

Special thanks to: DelgadoFuchs, Jia-Yu Corti for participating in the Open Studio research; Bernhard la Dous, Charlotte Holstein

Supported by: The cooperative support agreement between the City of Zurich, the Canton of Zurich, and Pro Helvetia—Swiss Arts Council, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Ernst und Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung, Jacqueline Spengler Stiftung
Co-produced by: Kunsthaus Zürich, Kaserne Basel, Dampfzentrale Bern, L'Arsenic – Centre d'art scénique contemporain Lausanne, ADN Neuchâtel, Tanzquartier Wien, Gessnerallee Zürich.
THIS PERFORMANCE IS A CO-PRODUCTION in the frame of the Programmers’ Fund of Reso—Dance Network Switzerland, SUPPORTED BY Pro Helvetia—Swiss Arts Council


See also

I agree to terms and conditions More.
Terms and conditions More.