In his recent exhibition The End of the Remake, Christoph Draeger examines our culture’s fascination with looming disasters ranging from self-destructive pop figures to historical atrocities. As alluded in its title, the show is comprised mostly of restaged renowned art and film works. In Shipping Disaster (Large Glass Stripped Bare) (2008), Draeger presents a simplified version of Duchamp’s ambitious glass sculpture “The Large Glass,” which was damaged in transport after being exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in 1926. In Schizo Redux (2004), he has overlaid Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” with Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of the film. Running simultaneously on a single screen, the current version echoes the past almost in complete unison, yet not without a tinge of cynicism.
The works generally highlight a sense of imminent calamity or an awakening to harsh disillusionment, as in the case of Hippie Movie (2008). Forty years after the fact, Draeger formed a hippie community in Warsaw to re-enact the Summer of Love. With ideals of utopia, communal living, and free love now widely dismissed as naïve, his attempt appears detached and futile. Mushroom Cloud (Nagasaki) (2008) is perhaps the most straightforward and effective demonstration of the overall temper of the exhibition, as it displays the iconic mushroom cloud image over Nagasaki in 8,000 jigsaw puzzle pieces. This work calls attention to the notion that the new and advanced at once unites and divides our culture. It encapsulates the manner in which the products of modernism and technology afford us an escape, though are in essence also what we are fleeing from.
Images: Mushroom Cloud (Nagasaki) (2008); Schizo Redux (2004). Courtesy Roebling Hall.