Power 100

Most influential people in 2022 in the contemporary artworld


Wu Tsang

Artist - Performance artist and director exploring marginalised identities and queer histories

14 in 2022

  • 202214
  • 202073
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
Photo: Flavio Karrer

It is a testament to how in-demand Wu Tsang is that when the artist wanted to retell the story of Moby-Dick in feature-length-film form, opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic materialised. MOBY DICK; or, The Whale premiered at Schauspielhaus Zurich (which produced the work alongside Moved by the Motion) before travelling to Goldoni for the opening week of the Venice Biennale (and received backing from seven major art organisations, including Luma, Superblue and the Whitney Museum). In an orchestra-scored feature, the artist, who explores marginalised identities and queer histories, refits the action as a queer love story and allegory of race. A long list of international screenings followed, but the artist’s interest in Herman Melville’s classic didn’t end there. Also in Venice, projected onto a 17m-wide screen in a shipping yard, was Of Whales, an epic looped film installation; and for the Whitney Biennial she convened her Swiss-based performance gang Moved by the Motion (cofounded with Tosh Basco fka boychild) for EXTRACTS, yet another exploration of Moby-Dick, this one through installation and live movement, and featuring critical theorist (and longtime collaborator) Fred Moten.

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