Until August first, Team Gallery, based in Soho, Manhattan, is exhibiting Body Double by video artist Brice Dellsperger. In his thought-provoking remakes, the artist manipulates the language of film, deconstructing an image and translating it into a new vernacular. The artist presents us with meditations upon selected excerpts from cult movies like Eyes Wide Shut by Stanley Kubrick or Saturday Night Fever. A significant part of the series, including the title work, is drawn from the films of Brian De Palma. A borrower himself, De Palma pays homage to the Hitchcock classics Vertigo and Rear Window in the original Body Double.
Preserving structural elements of an excerpt like score and screenplay, Dellsperger deconstructs character identities and calls attention to the experience of spectatorship by introducing a new body to a scene, allowing it to traverse multiple genres and meanings. These doubles, often in drag, call attention to the nature of remaking in their blatant artificiality.
Dellsperger began working on the series as a student in 1995. Knowledge of the source film is not necessary to grasp the concepts behind Dellsperger’s compositions or feel their effects. Often the artist’s selection features an esoteric moment that captures a character without necessarily emphasizing plot or background, allowing the viewer to focus on the gestures that the artist chooses to highlight and expand upon. Paying great attention to subtle shots that can expose the nature of relationships between characters in the film, or meditating upon a particularly dramatic, moving image, the artist describes to his audience what components of a film he finds striking, and imposes upon them new dynamics and poses further questions in his adaptations.
As multiple characters of a given remake are played by the same person, Dellsperger’s doubling effect proliferates character relationships and puts emphasis on the empathy an audience commonly experiences with film. Watching the looping shorts at Team’s location on Wooster Street, where the entire façade is a glass pane with which passersby seem to be consistently intrigued, you’ll feel yourself become a part of this never-ending chain of audience and reprise-- a film’s endless recurrence.
This series, comprised of thirty works and lasting nearly five hours of film in total, will be shown at three venues over the month-long exhibition with a program that changes each week. The rotating program always features videos of varied completion years, so audiences can consistently get a grasp of the duration of Dellsperger’s project and observe the striking differences in technique used in his reproductions. The program schedule for the full exhibition can be accessed on the gallery website.
All images provided by the gallery