Reality Manifestos - Can Dialectics Break Bricks?

A study of détournement as Art Forms


Museum Halls, WUK, Währinger Straße 59, 1090 Wien

Symposium from 19 - 20 January 2012. (Exhibition at Kunsthalle Exnergasse 19 January - 3 March 2012)

Lectures at the Symposium

Body Double

by Brice Dellsperger

Brice Dellsperger will speak about his general approach to his Body Double cycle of films, with a screening of his latest, Body Double 26, and present the recently published monographic book, Body Double: Posture and High Heels. The talk will be followed by a screening of Body Double 22 (40 min; 2007-10; after Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut).

For Body Double 22, Dellsperger starts with Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, ten years after its initial release. Once again he is working with Jean-Luc Verna, who plays all the parts. In contrast with his earlier films, limited to reprises of single scenes – the exceptions being BD X, which used the whole of Zulawski's That Most Important Thing: Love, and BD16, which included scenes from two different films – this new opus takes advantage of the opportunity to apply the same directing principles to several different scenes: doubles split off into female characters. The gender trouble the artist creates – his actor is systematically dressed as a woman, even when playing male parts – once again contaminates the remake exercise. Using a host of replayed scenes – the film lasts 35 minutes – Body Double 22 jumbles their order, reorganising different sequences from Kubrick's last masterpiece around the original's key scene – Dr Harford's discovery of the secret ritual – which here recurs over and over. The splitting operations thus interfere with the film's linearity, dividing into different spaces the scenes re-enacted and shot in different parts of the same theatre: the dream narrative, the visit to the morgue, the naked woman in the bathroom, the visit to the dead patient's daughter, etc. The use of inlays even enables the overlaying of scenes within a single shot, that of the argument. In addition, the use of overdubbed sound heightens the general unease and helps distance the film from Kubrick's original.

Brice Dellsperger is an artist based in Paris. He has for several years now been an expert in the art of faking in the most blatant respect: he remakes and recycles specific movie scenes. The first episodes of his series of palimpsests, entitled Body Double, add a subversive cosmetic layer to the original sources, turning them inside out and allowing them to span several genres. The source material includes carefully selected pieces from the works of Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho), Brian de Palma (Dressed to Kill, Body Double, Blow Out, Obsession), Georges Lucas (Return of the Jedi), and Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho). However, every last vicissitude of the linear narratives of these films has been meticulously removed, with a nearly surgical care, so that in the end each one of these sequences seems to harbor within itself, and for itself, something immediately archetypal. (Maxime Matray)