Thomas Draschan, Rêve, 2014, 145 x 265 cm, Textil auf Spannrahmen / Textile on stretcher bar
By Angela Stief
Thomas Draschan has flipped the lever of his recycling apparatus and given his art a new twist. In his career as an artist, which has seen many radical breaks, he developed from a trained filmmaker, handling large amounts of found footage, to a collage artist whose rich store of material and elaborate preparations always added to the obsessive impression his works conveyed. In the past few months, Draschan's innumerable photographic templates, which until only recently he would digitalize and combine into an overall whole; his play with the ornamentation of the high-resolution pixels and technically precise cuts; the cut-and-pasting in front of the machine; have given way to an unmediated, hands-on work approach: The switch of media, from digital image production to an analogue world of haptic materiality, resulted in textile works of colorful, patterned pieces of fabric. They are still as intensive and explosive as before. In rêve, silver threads as fine as cobweb cause a dark night's sky to vibrate, checkers mark the physiognomy of an eery person seen from the back, stripes pervade the landscape of the picture and lead to irritations of perspective, and blue dots bounce on the top of a dreaming girl before the viewer's attention is absorbed by the green satin leaves of a plant. It is an optical spectacle of pattern mixes and surface arrangements, virtuosically combining with needle and thread materials as heterogenous as artificial leather, velvet and linen.
Little stories are interwoven into Thomas Draschan's big pictures. Like in Weltbank, they follow no logical narrative, but - inspired by the artist's favorite authors Gustave Flaubert, Joris-Karl Huysmans and especially Raymond Roussel - captivate through the power of association, pulling us in and away from the stale reality of everyday life in a strong and most welcome way. It is a sensual overdose which has been described in a ZEIT article on Roussel as "colorful and off-key nothingness." The intertwined narrative, which connects everything with everything else and smoothes out contradictions in a surrealistic setting, serves an aesthetic surrealism.
The syntax of the textile tableaus of Thomas Draschan - who was once described as an animator of dead matter, because he recruits his characters from timetravels to the past - is illustrated in Guilty Pleasure: The central scene of the gay couple is reflected in an intrinsic image, that of the pattern of the fabric which decorates the body of one of the men, who is evocative of Saint Sebastian. In a staged locus solus, a fantastic garden with agaves and a phallus-shaped flower cascade, the different pictorial levels, the foreground, middle ground and background, merge into a patchwork that raises traditional folkloristic technique to the sky of contemporary art.
Translated by Simone Schede
You and your friends are cordially invited to the opening on Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 11 am. until 6 pm.
The artist will be present.
Born 1967. Lives and works in Vienna.
He studied at the Städel Schule, Frankfurt at the film-class of Peter Kubelka
© The Author an the Artist