PHOTO: © "Revolution. Stachel im Fleisch" des Kollektivs Paper Tiger

Revolution. Stachel im Fleisch. 革命:幽灵的箭矢

In the organizer's words:
A Chinese scroll painting like a scene from an action movie: a horseman shoots a warrior galloping in front of him with a bow and arrow. The Chinese-German Paper Tiger Theater was inspired by the scroll painting in the collection of the Museum of Asian Art and its dance video installation performance spans an arc from the Chinese military campaigns and their celebration in the Imperial Palace to the colonial plundering of Beijing in the so-called Boxer War of 1900 and today's China.
Three dancers meet a contemporary witness of Honecker's trip to China, a skateboarder meets a drummer, video art meets costumes for all.
We see the fatal moment of an act of war: hit by an arrow and painfully bent, a Dzungarian horseman flees at full gallop. Behind him, also on horseback, is a Manchurian officer of the imperial army, Machang, bow in hand and about to send another arrow after the fleeing man.
The scroll "Machang Breaking Through the Enemy Ranks" was painted in Peking in 1759 and was part of a large-scale propaganda program commissioned by Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) from his court painter Lang Shinin alias Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766) after the conclusion of the victorious campaign against the Dzungars (today Xinjiang). It is intended to glorify his expansionist policy in the north-west and south of the empire.
The Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione had been living in Beijing since 1714. Although he was not able to pursue his missionary work there as originally planned, he became a court painter who was highly esteemed by the emperor. The painting arrived in Berlin in 1914 via the art trade, probably as a result of looting during the "Boxer Wars" in 1900, where it is now part of the collection of the Museum of Asian Art in the Humboldt Forum.
Its provenance is currently being researched together with other works from the Imperial Palace in German museums.
By combining the realist tradition of European painting with Chinese aesthetics, Castiglione created an early form of transcultural exchange, staged as it were in the situation of the pursuer and the fugitive.
This concrete scene as well as the complex history of the painting form the starting point for a performative-installative research into the historical and contemporary contexts of colonization and revolution.
Paper Tiger sees the painting as a probe for exploring the present. As an object that has traversed times and spaces, at the interface between artist and emperor, between human and animal, between imperial power and powerless resistance, it poses fundamental questions to us.
  • Idea and director: Tian Gebing
  • Production: Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss / Paper Tiger Theater Studio, Beijing / Berlin
Paper Tiger Theater Studio
The " Paper Tiger Theater Studio" (Beijing/Berlin) is an independent theater collective that was founded in 1998 by Tian Gebing in Beijing and has also been based in Berlin for three years. Artists with different professional backgrounds from the fields of dance, theater and visual arts come together here to develop theater projects in the border area of theater, performance and dance. The central starting point of the theater work is the immediate reality not only of contemporary Chinese society. Everyday reality in its brutal absurdity is used as the material and structure of the performances, placed in other contexts, translated, misunderstood, expanded with literary fictions and transformed in such a way that a process of exchange between social and performative spaces is set in motion. From 2010 to 2015, Paper Tiger had its own theater spaces in Beijing, where artists from other disciplines could also work and thus form a joint artistic network that played a decisive role in shaping the theater landscape in Beijing.
The company's productions have been shown in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Antwerp, Krakow, Zurich, Amsterdam and many other places in China. Paper Tiger has already presented several projects in Germany, including at the HAU in Berlin in 2007, with co-productions in 2014 with "Totally happy" at the Münchner Kammerspiele and in 2017 with "500 Meter. Kafka, Great Wall or Images from the Unreal World and Daily Heroism" at Hamburg's Thalia Theater as part of the Theater der Welt festival. In 2021, the second part of a Kafka trilogy entitled "Heart Chamber Fragments" was created at the Münchner Kammerspiele. Most recently, Paper Tiger realized 2022/23 with "Her Face. Theatre about diasporic poetry, disappearance and hauntological reoccurrence", a nomadic project in eight Berlin apartments.
Raul Aranha
Simon Chatelain
Oksana Chupryniuk
Hu Shengnan (percussion)
Lee Yi-Chi (possibly recast)
Ariel Nil Levy
Hans-Jürgen Schreiber
Suzuki Mieko (DJ)
Wang Yanan
Director Tian Gebing
Choreography Wang Yanan
Stage Eva Veronica Born
Dramaturgy Christoph Lepschy
Curator Chen Shuyu
Music Suzuki Mieko
Costume concept Chen Shuyu, Tian Gebing
Video design Andreas König, Julia Kuhnert, Daniela Prochaska
Assistant director Li Jingwen
Assistant stage designer Lioba Bangert
Costume assistance Lam Ophelia, Aline Suter
Choreography assistance Xie Yuchen
Translation Li Binyao
Artistic assistance Liu Chao
Video record ings Tong Xin, Jiang Dingding
Further information
- Language: English, German, with surtitles, Mandarin
- Price: 16,00 EUR / reduced 8,00 EUR. Please book your ticket online or in the foyer.
- Venue: Hall 2
- from 12 years
This content has been machine translated.


Humboldt Forum Schloßplatz 10178 Berlin

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