By Hettie Judah
She has made films about a gay club in LA that became a phenomenon and rewritten history as sapphic martial arts. Enters the dazzling world of trans artist Wu Tsang
By chance, I recently found myself seated beside Wu Tsang at the Venice Biennale. Willowy and gender ambiguous, with a black topknot and in the soft, draped clothing favoured by dancers, she was with her regular collaborator, Boychild, huddled together like two chicks on a branch. The Berlin-based artist met Boychild – muscular, eyebrows shaved and bearing futuristic tattoos – when the latter was performing in clubs. They’re an unmistakeable pairing.
Tsang made a sci-fi film to showcase Boychild’s extraordinary physicality soon after they met. “I remember,” says Tsang, “the first couple of times we worked together. She said, ‘You tell me the story you want to tell, I’ll tell it back to you in movement.’ And that’s how we work now. I created a whole world that was like a platform – a way to experience her performance.”