Artist: Brice Dellsperger
Venue: Air de Paris
Exhibition Title: Solitaires
Date: June 20 – July 30, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Brice Dellsperger, Body Double 36, 2019 installation, double projection synchronized, film 2K, format 2.39 letterbox, fichier ProRes 422HQ, sound, 08 min. 58 sec., looped, (excerpt) 00:28
Brice Dellsperger, Body Double 37, 2020, film 2k, H264 vers Apple ProRes 422, 2048 x 1080, sound, 3 min 55 sec., looped, (excerpt) 00:48
Images courtesy of the artist and Air de Paris, Paris. Photos by Marc Domage.
For his new solo sow at Air de Paris, Brice Dellsperger presents two new films «Body Double 36» and «Body Double 37».
«My Body Double videos are like doubles of movie sequences from the 70s or 80s: the title refers to Brian de Palma’s film (Body Double, 1984). To this day the series includes forty films with various running times, where the obsessive motif is the body of the double in mainstream movies. Following a rigorous but emancipating process, each selected scene is re-enacted by a single transvestite actor or actress, a super character who interprets all the parts by becoming double.»
By appropriating the linear/ authoritarian form of a movie, the Body Double films aim at disrupting normative sexual genres through the means of a camp aesthetic.»
Body Double 36 (2019)
After Perfect (James Bridges, 1985) with Jean Biche.
Aerobics were the fashion in the 80s!
James Bridges’ Perfect was released in 1985. The film superficially describes human relationships in a gym club in Los Angeles, seen through the eyes of a journalist (John Travolta) who is beguiled by an androgynous gym coach (Jamie Lee Curtis).
Studies on the postmodern body in contemporary American society are linked to the context of the 80s, a period which recognized an ideal body-object caught up by the AIDS epidemic. The identification of the HIV virus had a major influence on the perception and representation of bodies and sexuality.
The movie sequence on which Body Double 36 is based is the one in the gym class. The story is reduced to a minimum, gestures and looks are evocative, here we witness a true symbiosis between bodies, a perfect synchronism while playing the pseudo hit Shock Me, in a pure moment of collective experience similar to an orgasm. Different types are represented, but strangely they get mixed up, which according to me might well define a new Trans identity.
Today’s Trans-body should be paying tribute to the fitness activity of the 80s! To its ambiguity, its bodily transformations, the transgression of bodies augmented and sculpted through personal accomplishment.
Subjects are staged and represented in a new installation. Using mirrors and enlargements like a kaleidoscope, the sequence is doubled several times. I invited artist Jean Biche, who performed at the Manko Cabaret in Paris, to interpret all the characters.
– Brice Dellsperger, 2019
Body Double 37 (2020)
After Dressed to Kill (Brian de Palma, 1980) with Brice Dellsperger.
A woman visits a psychiatrist, but she has a hidden agenda. Likewise, the therapist is not all that he appears to be; he listens to the analysand with concern but also with an underlying, almost sinister, sense of lust. The scene is from Brian DePalma’s Dressed to Kill, in which nothing is as it appears, and in which its protagonists role-play, play-act and dress-up. A perfect text, then, to serve as the template for Brice Dellsperger’s Body Double 37.
This poetic and politicized artwork, slyly masquerading as an entertaining video clip, is made following Dellsperger’s preferred style. The artist has detached the soundtrack from a four-minute segment of the 1980 film, using it as the structure, or prompt, to propel his own investigation into identity, the self and its representation. Dellsperger inhabits the poses of Michael Caine and of Nancy Allen, manipulating his gestures and contorting his body to mimic these cinematic ideals.
But Dellsperger’s work is not solely a garment worn to conceal and/or decorate the body. It is not a cloak. It is also an organ internal to that body. Like breath, the voice in Dellsperger’s work inhabits the artist’s insides; he becomes the medium reactivating the spirits of decades long past.
What we see is Dellsperger’s present — his self in the Covid-infected 2020. What we hear is Dellsperger’s past — his teenaged memory of the feverish style and violent ruptures of DePalma’s halcyon days. We could say these are the depicted and the uttered, however, nothing could be further from the truth, for Body Double 37 creates a meaning that is thoroughly independent of the scene from Dressed to Kill that acts as its inspiration. Dellsperger’s art is one of total transformation; the original is slain and, in its place, is a perfectly fused synthesis of oppositional forces.
So, for the time being dear viewer, let’s slip into something a little more comfortable and press play.
– José Freire, 2020
Brice Dellsperger (born in Cannes 1972, lives and works in Paris) has been working on his Body Double cycle since 1995. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and abroad. His work is in collections that include the MoMA, Musée d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou and Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.