Conchita channels Klimt for Life Ball poster

The new art work for the 2015 Life Ball features Austrian drag star and Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst styled as Gustav Klimt’s iconic 'Golden Adele' in an image by fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth.

Conchita channels Klimt for Life Ball poster
Life Ball organiser Gery Keszler with the poster. Photo: APA/PFARRHOFER

The posters will soon be on display on the streets of Vienna, and the image will be cast in gold on a medallion by Austrian Mint. 50% of the proceeds of its sale will go to AIDS LIFE.

Three different versions of the poster will include the text: “Acceptance is the daughter of freedom”; “Freedom grows where rules break”; and “Homeland of great daughter/sons” (the last one plays on an earlier controversy about Austria’s national anthem).

“I love Klimt, his paintings with all those colours, all this glamour and all the poetry. I felt very inspired by creating an homage to this extraordinary painting,” Ellen von Unwerth said.

Wurst’s dress is embroidered with more than 12,000 Swarovski crystals which took around 1,250 hours to create by a team from the Life Ball and students from the Fashion School Herbststraße in Vienna. The spectacular dress will be displayed at the Swarovski shop on Vienna’s Kärntner Strasse.

Last year’s Life Ball posters proved to be extremely controversial as they featured transgender model Carmen Carrera, photographed by David La Chapelle, and depicting Carrera as Botecelli’s The Birth of Venus with female genitalia in one version, and male genitalia in the other.

The original images were sold at auction for almost €180,000, to raise money for AIDS charities.  

The Life Ball is Europe’s largest AIDS Fundraiser, and takes place this year on May 16th in Vienna.

Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

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Austria’s Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst reveals she is HIV-positive

Austrian bearded drag queen and Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst has announced in an Instagram post that she is HIV positive, saying she is being blackmailed by a former boyfriend.

Austria's Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst reveals she is HIV-positive
Conchita Wurst performs at the 'Voices of Refugees' benefit festival organized to support refugees at the Heldenplatz in Vienna on Oktober 3rd, 2015. Photo: AFP

Wurst, the creation of Austrian singer and artist Tom Neuwirth, 29, said in the post late on Sunday that the ex boyfriend was “threatening to go public with this private information”.

“I won't give anyone the right to scare me and to influence my life in this way,” said Wurst, describing the decision to go public as removing a “sword of  Damocles”.

The post has already received more than 26,000 “likes” on Monday morning.


heute ist der tag gekommen, mich für den rest meines lebens von einem damoklesschwert zu befreien: ich bin seit vielen jahren hiv-positiv. das ist für die öffentlichkeit eigentlich irrelevant, aber ein ex-freund droht mir, mit dieser privaten information an die öffentlichkeit zu gehen, und ich gebe auch in zukunft niemandem das recht, mir angst zu machen und mein leben derart zu beeinflussen. seit ich die diagnose erhalten habe, bin ich in medizinischer behandlung, und seit vielen jahren unterbrechungsfrei unter der nachweisgrenze, damit also nicht in der lage, den virus weiter zu geben. ich wollte aus mehreren gründen bisher nicht damit an die öffentlichkeit gehen, nur zwei davon will ich hier nennen: der wichtigste war mir meine familie, die seit dem ersten tag bescheid weiss und mich bedingungslos unterstützt hat. ihnen hätte ich die aufmerksamkeit für den hiv-status ihres sohnes, enkels und bruders gerne erspart. genauso wissen meine freunde seit geraumer zeit bescheid und gehen in einer unbefangenheit damit um, die ich jeder und jedem betroffenen wünschen würde. zweitens ist es eine information, die meiner meinung nach hauptsächlich für diejenigen menschen von relevanz ist, mit denen sexueller kontakt infrage kommt. coming out ist besser als von dritten geoutet zu werden. ich hoffe, mut zu machen und einen weiteren schritt zu setzen gegen die stigmatisierung von menschen, die sich durch ihr eigenes verhalten oder aber unverschuldet mit hiv infiziert haben. an meine fans: die information über meinen hiv-status mag neu für euch sein – mein status ist es nicht! es geht mir gesundheitlich gut, und ich bin stärker, motivierter und befreiter denn je. danke für eure unterstützung!

A post shared by conchita (@conchitawurst) on Apr 15, 2018 at 12:01pm PDT

“Coming out is better than being outed by someone else. I hope to give others courage and to take another step against the stigmatisation of those  who… have contracted HIV,” Wurst added. 

Wurst said that she had been receiving medical treatment since her diagnosis and that it had been suppressed to undetectable levels, so it could  not be transmitted.

“I'm stronger, more motivated and freer than ever,” Wurst said.

She praised the “unconditional support” she had received from her family and added that sparing them the publicity was one reason she had not chosen to share the information before now.

“My friends have also known for quite a while now and have approached with it a spirit of acceptance that I would wish for all those affected,” she said.

Wurst shot to fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 with  her song “Rise Like A Phoenix” and used her platform to campaign for gay  rights.

In February she announced a new album in collaboration with the Vienna  Symphony Orchestra and is due to host the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards next  week.