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25 May 2009

Christoph Draeger - The End of Remake: Tropolicalia at CCA Ujazdowski Castle Warsaw

© still from Hippie Film, 2007, Christoph Draeger

The End of Remake: Tropolicalia


Exhibition on view until 14.06.2009
Gallery open Tuesday-Sunday 12.00-19.00, Friday until 21.00


Ul. Jazdow 2
00-467 Warsaw

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The End of Remake: Tropolicalia

The main topic of Christoph Draeger's film trilogy 'The End of the Remake' is the turbulent period of the late 1960's. 'My Generation' (2007), 'Blow Up, Stroll On' (2006) and 'Hippie Movie' (2007) were based on three carefully chosen paradigmatic 'scenes' that symbolize the rise and fall of the Hippie era. Born in 1965, Draeger chose to relive these moments in order to enjoy and ironically simulate events that he could not have been an active part of.

The title of the exhibition, Tropolicalia, is a pun on the Brazilian Tropicalia movement, which happened in the late 60's and combined music, performance, art, and film. The movement took its name from the installation by one of its main proponents, Helio Oitcica. The complex environments he created were always thought for the viewers' participation. This strategy refers to the condition of Hippie Movie's and the two other pieces' production: shot entirely with volunteers, it is a document to the possibilities of spontaneous self-realization and participatory enthusiasm.

The first part of the trilogy, Stroll On, Blow Up (2006, 3 min), consists in an exact remake of the Club scene in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up (1966), in which Jeff Beck of the Yardbirds destroys his guitar. The remake was re-enacted as closely as possible to the original scene - the entire club was being rebuilt in a studio, the extras and actors wore similar costumes, the acting and camera positions were closely followed. The piece was shot in Birmingham in September 2006 during a residency at Springhill Institute for Contemporary Art.

The second part, My Generation (2007, 5 min), is the video of a performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon - a remake of the last five minutes of the Monterey Pop festival show by the British band The Who in 1967. Draeger as Pete Townshend and three american musician friends are playing the song My Generation using authentic costumes and instruments- and brutally destroy them at the end in a cacophony of feedback. The explosive power and the inherent aggression of the performance expresses both, the revolutionary optimism and utopic spirit of the era and its foreseeable, dystopic ending.

Hippie Movie (2008, 53 min) is the most complex and political part of the trilogy. Shot in HD video and Super-8, it is a free-wheeling documentary about a Hippie movement named Tropolicalia, which Christoph Draeger founded as an ironic remake of San Francisco's Summer of Love in 1967. During his three months stay in Poland in the summer of 2007, the artist reenacted, and actually lived with friends and volunteers aspects of hippie life and ideology - together they celebrated Love and Peace and Happiness as a public participatory performance. 1960's Poland was behind the Iron Curtain and naturally didn't enjoy anything like the Summer of Love, so these reenactments became a surreal, belated premiere for Warsaw. The film is a celebration of the inventions of 1960's rock music, a hallucinatory, post-psychedelic visual trip, but it also inherently reveals that? it was made 40 years too late: a utopic re-creation of total escape now lost to us.

The exhibition is the result of a three-month long residency in the frames of artist in the artists-in-residence laboratory programme at the CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw in the summer of 2007 and was generously founded by Pro Helvetia, The Swiss Art Council and the City of Warsaw.

Curators: Marianna Dobkowska, Ika Sienkiewicz-Nowacka