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Tatjana Utz: Showtime

Tatjana Utz provides an inside-view into the world of travesty stars throughout her paintings and installations. She broaches the issue of gender roles and their social acceptability.

Date :

26.08.2016 until 09.10.2016

Tatjana Utz: Showtime


27 August ‒ 9 October, 2016: Exhibition
opening hours: Tu ‒ Sa 2‒7 pm, Su + holidays 10 am‒7 pm
Ikon barrierefrei The exhibition spaces and the café are accessible to the disabled.

26 August, Friday 7 pm: Exhibition OPENING
Shuttle bus from Freising Station to the House of Art: 6.30 ‒ 7 pm; return: 8.50 pm

  • Greeting: Friederike Steinberger, vice president of the District County
  • Introduction: Prof. Dr. Andreas Kühne, art historian
  • Live performance of the three travesty stars Gerda Gans, Chantal Gpunkt and Marcella Milano
  • Premiere of the film Showtime by Maiu Olivero

The opening takes place together with the opening of the exhibition
Eszter Szabó: Double Take‒ Admission free!

24 September, Saturday 3 pm: Kunstclub 13
with Tatjana Utz and Eike Berg, director of the House of Art ‒
information and registration: www.kunstclub13.org ‒ attendance fee: 10 €

27 September, Tuesday 5 pm: meetingpoint+art
Guided tour through the exhibition with Alexandra M. Hoffmann ‒ Admission free!

1 October, Saturday 4 pm: KUNST#TAG 043 Science
Presentation by Prof. Dr. Barbara Vinken, LMU Munich, about fashion and gender, afterwards presentation of the catalogue Showtime ‒ Admission free!

With the kind support of: 

Logo Kulturfonds Bayern Kunst     Logo Sparkassenstiftung Freising 


View in the exhibition

Pictures: Marco Einfeldt

About the exhibition

Working in watercolor, oil, film, and installation, Tatjana Utz offers rare insights into the backstage world of the stars of Munich drag queen performances, known as travesty shows.Her artistic documentation addresses gender roles and their social acceptance.

Her series Showtime documents the performances of Munich travesty stars (Gerda Gans, Marcella Milano, Chantal Gpunkt, Miss Piggy, Gene Pascale, Mandy Mitchell, and Juan Morales) and guest stars on their shows. She accompanied travesty performers with the camera backstage, from their preparations behind the curtain to their performances in glittering evening gowns. Over the course of an involved process that takes several hours these male performers transform into their female alter egos. The image series Showtime captures the various phases of this alteration in watercolors, oil paintings, linoleum prints, drawings, objects arranged in display cases, and an installation—and provides rare insights into the backstage world where the performers change clothes, put on padding to assume female form, apply makeup, style their wigs, and put on jewelry. Wearing feather boas, high heels, and sequined dresses, the travesty performers appear on stage in their alternate identity as women in glittering evening wear.

Travesti, a stage performance by actors playing the opposite sex, has existed since the theater of antiquity, in which female roles were played by men. Largely due to the objections of the church, it was not until the 16th century that there is evidence of female actresses being used for female roles in the German-speaking world. In Elizabethan theater in England female parts were played by young boys, and during the time of Louis the XIV the female parts in French ballet were played by men “en travestie.” In contrast, in the second half of the 19th century “danseuses en travestie” assumed male parts. The term travesti or “travesty” has taken on new meanings, and in the context of drag queen shows it includes a repertoire [a3] ranging from the imitations of stars to the creation of unique stage personae (such as Gerda Gans, Marcella Milano, Chantal Gpunkt, Miss Piggy, Gene Pascale, Mandy Mitchell, and Juan Morales).

The series Showtime addresses current gender issues. Travesty performers take on a new guise by utterly changing their external appearance, and after transforming into their alter ego they then embody an entirely different personality. The freedom of being able to do this is enabled by the underlying values of our society. However, this attitude and lifestyle are still not widely accepted. Reactions to this practice reveal the degree of a society’s openness.

In conjunction with this project the Italian-Argentine documentary filmmaker Maiu Olivero produced a short film, which shows Tatjana Utz’s working processes in the studio, documents views of the exhibition project Showtime, takes a look at the wardrobes of travesty performers, and shows excerpts of their performances. The film will be screened during the exhibition.


The project is accompanied by a catalogue published by hesperus print* Verlag Dresden.

Additional works by the artist can be viewed online at www.tatjana-utz.de.


In her series and installations Tatjana Utz tests the boundaries and possibilities of representative painting and drawing. In addition to working on canvas, she transforms classical media into the three-dimensional as display cases of objects, walk-through books, or painted sculptures. Through the layering of multiple images her watercolors take on a three-dimensional quality. Through the use of life-size cutouts her oil paintings shift from being mere figures to becoming sculptures. Walls function as the oversize pages of a book. The artist foregrounds socially relevant issues, socio-cultural questions, and historical approaches, which she researches extensively in advance. She often works from interviews, which she integrates into her work as text collages. The themes of identity and individuality are common threads running through her work, and the viewer is consistently drawn into her installations, thus becoming part of the work.

Tatjana Utz always works in series. She produces connected groups of works that are generally narrative in character. Working from a clearly defined concept, she distills a multi-part installation out of her working process, which can be shown as a whole or in segments. One could describe her approach as conceptual painting, although she works in classical techniques, such as oil and acrylic paint, drawing, and printing processes such as linoleum cut and etching.

About Tatjana Utz

Tatjana Utz was born in Sternberg in 1975, she lives and works in München.

  • 2006 Diploma with Prof. Sean Scully, honour as "Meisterschülerin"
  • 2001 - 2006 Study at the Academy of fine Arts Munich with Prof. Sean Scully and Prof. Fridhelm Klein
  • 1996 - 2001 Study of Italian, English and German philology,  art history and teaching of art at the LMU Munich 

Solo exhibitions (selection)

  • 2016 Showtime. Schafhof - Europäisches Künstlerhaus Oberbayern, Freising
  • 2015 Showtime. Kunstverein Region Heinsberg
  • 2014 Ein Kind in Traunstein. Stadt- und Spielzeugmuseum Traunstein
  • 2013 Ein Kind in Traunstein. Interactive installation in the public space, Traunstein
  • 2012 Über Grenzen. Kraszewski-Museum, Dresden
  • 2012 Romy. Museum Pachen, Rockenhausen
  • 2011 CheckUP in LU. Kunstverein Ludwigshafen (catalogue)
  • 2011 Über Grenzen. Ostsee-Kulturzentrum, Danzig (Poland)
  • 2011 Über Grenzen. Edith Stein Haus, Breslau (Poland)
  • 2008 Geschichte und Geschichten. Ehemalige Synagoge Odenbach
  • 2008 Puma. Wandarbeit im Museum des Warschauer Aufstands, Warschau (Poland)
  • 2008 Über Grenzen. Stadthalle Germering (catalogues)

Opening hours


Winter (Nov-Feb)
Tue - Sat: 2 pm - 6 pm
Sun + holidays: 10 am - 7 pm

Summer (March-Oct)
Tue - Sat: 2 pm - 7 pm
Sun + holidays: 10 am - 7 pm


Das Titelbild des Flyers über die Kunstwerke im Skulpturengarten im Außenbereich des Schafhofs - Europäisches Künstlerhaus Oberbayern zeigt die Skluptur "SpaceSheep" des ungarischen Künstlers Csongor Szigeti, ein silbernes, halb abstraktes Schaf auf einer Wiese.
Brochure about the Sculpture Garden in the outdoor area of the Center for Art
To download: PDF 10 MB