As just one example of how big Conchita Wurst has become in her native Austria, the Austrian newspaper Der Standard is devoting an entire issue of its supplement ‘Rondo’ to her. The issue will come out tomorrow, Friday, and will feature a photo shoot of Conchita Wurst that, at preliminary glance, could very well polarize both fans and adversaries alike.
That’s because Conchita Wurst and the photographer, Maria Ziegelböck, have collaborated to show Conchita as a ‘modern day Empress Sisi’, a woman who was known for being a slave to beauty and who put herself through various torturous acts so she could remain beautiful throughout her life.
And, within that framework, the ‘Making of…‘ photos and a teaser video released by Der Standard earlier in the week, show shots of Conchita being laced into a tight corset, bare chested, and in a mask that could quite easily be construed as sadomasochistic in nature.
Shocking to some fans, who prefer to see Conchita as the polite and gentile ‘woman’ she has worked years to perfect, and not the avant-garde ‘boy’ now displayed before us.
And, of course, more ammunition for Conchita’s adversaries to load into their weapons.
For me, someone who is occasionally mildly critical of a couple of the things Conchita has done (as a writer, in order to be true to her, I have to be true to myself, or my opinions and what I write would be worthless), from what I’ve seen so far, I view her Der Standard ‘Rondo’ photo shoot a different way.
Instead of seeing it as polarizing, I look at it as another exciting step for an artist who, at the young age of 25, was thrust into the world spotlight only a few months ago.
An artist who is still trying to find herself, while being bombarded with attention from every side, and who is changing and growing at every new turn.
An artist who isn’t afraid to push boundaries, and who believes art should occasionally shock and anger as well as satisfy and give pleasure.
And someone who, to me, is one of the most fascinating people to appear in the world arena in a long time.
As equally female as male, as sharply intelligent as she is intuitively brilliant, and someone who, I believe, will captivate my attention for years to come.
After all, when I fire up my computer and see Conchita Wurst sitting in a room full of opulence and splendor, while she herself is stripped down, bare-chested and wearing a sadomasochistic slave mask (or is she a dominatrix? you decide), I’m not only enthralled but desperate to see what she’ll come up with next.
The Der Standard ‘Rondo’ supplement will be on Austrian newsstands tomorrow and, I’m sure when I’ve seen the final photographs, I’ll be back with more musings. (new article on Conchita’s final ‘Rondo’ photos here).
Until then, let me just say to the eternally fascinating Conchita Wurst — keep doing what you are doing. I am loving every second.