We are in this together: the video work of Brice Dellsperger by Fabiola Naldi
We are living a cultural crossover where Brice Dellsperger's work represents an important focus set in one of the most interesting theoretical issue of these years: we know that the video has often taken inspiration from his technological "Big Brother" the cinema and from the cinematographical narration.
The French artist has already produced sixteen artistic productions that represent one of the most interesting actual visual researches. Brice Dellsperger, fascinated and seduced by cinematographic iconography of directors as Brian De Palma, Andrzej Zulawski, John Badham o Gus Van Sant, has produced real short famous remakes playing the double rule of artist and actor. The first gender identity is manipulated by the artist that, as famous and glamour movie stars, shows the ambiguity of the sexual gender. The Brice Dellsperger's body, like a perfect body double, recycles some movie scenes and dialogues and he unleashes a strong visual tension between the virtual attendance (his dressing up identity) and the real presence of cinematographic evidence.
The Body Double is the actor that replaces the hero in some movie stills and as him, the artist, dressed of the same clothes, the same make-up and the same moves, conceptually slips through in a different production turning over the inner functions. The new product realized by Brice Dellsperger is homologous to the selected cinematographic product even if it's different on the final intent. From Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock (Body Double 4, 1996), Body Double, Blow Out, Dressed to Kill e Obsession by Brian De Palma (Body Double 2 e 3, 1995; Body Double 9, 1997; Body Double 1, 1995 e Body Double 5 [Disneyland], 1996; Body Double 10 e 11, 1997), The Return of the Jedi by Georges Lucas (Body Double 8, 1997), My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant (Body Double 14, 1999), Saturday Night Fever by John Badham (Body Double 13, 1999-2001), until to L'important c'est d'aimer by Andrzej Zulawski (Body Double (x), 1998-2000) Brice Dellsperger clips again and takes possession of short situations playing with glamorous and theatrical dressing up. The aesthetics experience of body double amplifies the ironical research of a real work in progress also when the others alter ego are anymore played by the body or the artist. The image emigrates in a new fake space, creating a new inner dimension full of dreams and desires where the scene, constructed in a real way, becomes quite virtual and metaphorical.
The second screen version of a story realized by Dellsperger fluctuates between two different positions, the real and the virtual space, changing every time the artist's identity even if we always know that something has happened and it was true in the sense of Brice Dellsperger's will. In other terms, inside the unreal space (Brice Dellsperger creates these scenes with great artificial post productions) different identities are ready to born, exchange and lie over. The artist becomes a sort of harmless killer ready to conceal his identity's proofs and to fake the reality. Brice Dellsperger, with dressing and making up, shows us it's still possible to realize our desires that come from a cinematographic imaginary. He transfers all these dreams on his body (skin becomes sensitive film of a new mental approach) and on the bi-dimensional support of the video image.
Tell me more about these videos. Why do you always use the title "Body Double"?
The title "Body Double" comes from a Brian de Palma's movie from the 80's. In that motion picture, a guy witnessed a murder, and the sexy girl he thought was killed appears to be a body double at the end. The film takes as a starting point Alfred Hitchcock's scenes from "Vertigo" and "Rear Window". The name Body Double is used in cinema industry when a famous artist needs to be replaced (doubled) in some particularly delicate scenes, such as nude scenes or fighting scenes. My work is essentially about creating Body Doubles of existing commercial movies, using unknown non-professional actors. I then present a distant version of the original film.
In many of these videos you are the main actor, dressing up in different characters. Why?
In my videos, all the original characters are played by the same person, which means that the differences between the roles disappear. At the
beginning, I was playing in my videos because it was easier. I did not want to ask others to do what I could not do myself first. Then I started asking others to play in the videos because it was technically getting more and more difficult. Replacing all the characters of the original movie means also that I have to duplicate them using special effects and shoot the scene as many times as you see characters in it. For the audience, the identification becomes very difficult then. The general meaning remains because of the original soundtrack as a background. But everyone has to build his own story and bring to light new interpretations.
The references from different movies in your work are visible and very important. Tell me more about this visual and conceptual homology between video and cinema...
I think the way people watch movies is constantly evolving in regard of the reminiscence they get from everyday life. There is always a persistent image in the background, and that's how my videos work. They're just a kind of reflection, but tend to reveal their structure, like a never-ending movement between construction and deconstruction.