Through performance, text and film, Ivan Cheng (*1991, lives and works in Amsterdam) creates context-specific situations that deploy hosts as subjectivities and performers as hosts to address issues of accessibility and publics.
Passagiato’s: Stealing Valour (2022) is Cheng’s most recent work, developed for Performing Infrastructures, and forms the second installment of a three-part cycle taking place in three locations in Germany over three months. Proposing a framework that draws from elements of Walter Salles’ film The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), which uses cinematic tools to alternately mythologise and authenticate, Cheng’s cycle reflects on revolution as (commodified) cultural object. Rather than centring Ernesto “Che” Guevera’s journey as a young medical student through South America, Cheng writes himself through a character loosely inspired by the singer and actress Liza Minnelli as oeuvre and icon. In Salles’ biopic of the countercultural icon the portrayal of “locals” marks a turning point in the narrative of Che Guevara’s politicisation. Cheng sharply transposes this objectifying gaze onto the various production contexts and stages (distorted) images of the local structures and people on his journey through Germany. In Munich, he partly incorporates ZIRKA’s social environment and has cultural workers based in the city appear in pop(culturally) layered roles that blend personal and collective imagery.
Passagiato’s: Stealing Valour is written as five scenes in an Italian restaurant and hotel in Munich, in which a celebrity visitor, head chef, and business owner interact over five consecutive mealtimes. With each meal staged as a moving camera shot between spaces of ZIRKA, Cheng develops a complex game of representation, locality and globality that pushes notions of authenticity and originality to a point of deconstruction.
Performed by Ivan Cheng, Maximiliane Norwood as Ganymede Päffgen and Henrike Legner as Helene Birkin.
Ivan Cheng is dressed by Good and Bad (Marina M. Kolushova, Victor Stuhlmann, Ossi Lehtonen), hair and make-up by Lilo Lucia Meyer, with wigs by Münchner Kammerspiele. Camera by Lara Fritz, Christoph Schaller. Sound and lighting by Jakob Braito, Maxi Blässing. Chairs loaned from Pathos München e.V., bench loaned from Skateschule München. Special thanks to Ophelia Flassig.
Photos: Constanza Melendéz
Video documentation of Ivan Cheng’s Passagiato's: Stealing Valour (2022):