Dr. Robert Bock
Chaos and Cosmos
Back in 1998, the year Thomas Draschan graduated from Peter Kubelka's film class at Frankfurt's Staedel School of Art, the world was still in order. Using cutting tables that appear archaic now, they cut the celluloid by hand. Frame by frame, film material was considered, cut and spliced in concentrated form to produce the desired artistic effect. Looking back it's hard to grasp the breathtaking speed with which information and communication was revolutionised over the intervening 15 years.
The two films "Metropolen des Leichtsinns" (Metropolis of Foolishness) and "Yes? Oui? Ja?" that Draschan produced together with painter and filmmaker Max Franz between 1999 and 2001 are the result of excessive exploitation of existing films (so-called "found footage"). As a sideeffect of the cyber-age, it suddenly become possible to aquire every imaginable kind of historical film in auctions on-line, and the two collegues revelled in the unprecedented riches as they consumed and digested the films they bought. Old scientific films, documentaries, advertising material and family movies were dismembered and recombined.
It is a general phenomenon that after a certain period of time, the mannerisms of any given era become obvious even to the untrained observer; typical gestures, colours, photographic styles and technical possibilities reveal themselves to our amusement. We ourselves feel superior, because we don't yet perceive the absurd in our own time.
This is the beginning point for Thomas Draschan's collages. The artist as specialist in observing races ahead of his time and gains the distance necessary to perceive our aesthetic quirks. He builds his own timeless aesthetic world, a reality composed of blocks from widely divergant epochs and media.
In the digital world the possibilities for technical manipulation are gigantic, and Draschan parades this obsessively. On the surface this is amusing, but it leads us to an analysis of our own time. We despise past generations without noticing how naiively we ourselves are trading visual glass beads. In a few years the effects in a Spiderman film will make us smile as wryly as the clumsy jokes in a slapstick film.
Thomas Draschan seduces us into his cosy living room where everything comes together, to all appearances cosy and balanced, though we know and con prove that things cannot possibly be as they seem. But we want to believe him in spite of ourselves, and trying to connect things in ordered cohesion we become willing victims of his game.
It's worth noting that Draschan, expert in the old masters, has recently begun to create on canvas and use painters ploys, well aware that his fractured composition is related to that found in the greatest and most important paintings in history, for example Rembrandts Nightwatch or Delacroix's Massacre of Chios. Ironically, the underlying motivation for satirizing fulminant conventions is the desire for ordered systems; the creation of a new, truer cosmos.
The supersession and elimination of painting and the theoreticising of art is being preached in the name of Avant Garde in our acadamies to the present day. Thomas Draschan is a step ahead of this deception as well.
You and your friends are cordially invited to the opening on Friday, August 31st 2012 from 7pm.
The arist will be present.
A catalogue will be published for the show.