Doppelganger Images of the Human Being by Gestalten

The digital age has fundamentally changed traditional notions of who we are and how we wish to be perceived. The music producer Chris Walla puts it this way: “Confronted with our significantly more banal everyday life, we’re measuring our actual selves against our online selves with hopeful resignation.”

Doppelganger presents current trends in the depiction of human beings. In today’s images and sculptures, personal identities are being intensified, altered, or created through the use of techniques such as deformation and construction/deconstruction as well as the obliteration of classical proportions, visual traditions, and what is generally considered beautiful and fashionable.

Anders Krisár
Cuirass, 2005. Silicone paint on silicone, mounted on fiberglass, with board, plastic padding, brass screws, screw eyes, steel wire, and metal hardware, two parts, 53 cm x 38 cm x 16 cm and 57 cm x 38 cm x 16 cm.
Image Courtesy of Anders Krisár

The book shows permutations of the outer human shell created with costumes and masks as well as photo-technical and artistic manipulation. These take their visual cues from such diverse aesthetics as Dada, surrealism, high tech, cutting-edge fashion design, and the folklore of other cultures. Masquerades and artificial characters are used imaginatively to enhance and obscure true identities.

left: Phyllis Galembo, Ngar Ball Traditional Masquerade Dance, Cross River, Nigeria, 2004.
Ilfochrome, 76 cm x 76 cm.
right: Phyllis Galembo, Ano Dance Masquerade, Alok Village, Cross River, Nigeria, 2004.
Book-spread, Courtesy of Gestalten

Kerstin zu Pan, Supervision 6, 2009.
Book-spread, Courtesy of Gestalten

With examples ranging from the intimate to the radical, Doppelganger explores how many or how few effects the depiction of a person can take in order to function as such. In doing so, the book shows that the unique visual appearances being created today often reveal more about the identities of their subjects and creators than their “real” faces ever could.

Akatre, Mains d’OEuvres, 2009.
Book-spread, Courtesy of Gestalten

Title: Doppelganger
Subtitle: Images of the Human Being
Editors: R. Klanten, S. Ehmann, F. Schulze
Format: 24 x 30 cm
Features: 220 pages, full color, hardcover
ISBN: 978-3-89955-332-1
Price: €39.90 | $60.00 | £37.50
European Release: January 2011
International Release: February 2011

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