THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, September 7, 2011
Split Images, One Personality — Rebecca Horne
Photographer Cornelia Heidger left Switzerland for Harlem 10 years ago, and she feels more at home in New York. This is no surprise: As an artist, she is well acquainted with srong contrasts and dualities. In her composite photogrpahs, many of which play out a narrative between a main character and one or more doubles, Ms. Hediger plays all the parts, often confronting or consoling herself.
On Wednesday, a new exhibition of images, "Doppelgänger II," will open at Klompching Gallery in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, showcasing work three years in the making. While some of the pieces focus on experiences to women, the show is universal in its central thems of lust, loss, fear, innocence, hope and madness.
"I do think that having grown up in Switzerland has shaped me," Ms Hediger said recently. "On one hand, Switzerland is this seemingly gorgeious country, with its perfectly groomed geraniums sitting on every windowsill. On the other hand, I always felt that there was this underlying darkness that was hushed away."
To create her multi-panel imimages, Ms. Hediger shoots each panel separately as a single photo, then digitally fits six o rmore togeher in a grid as one composition. An average of 120 images are shot for each six-panel image. The result is a fragmented figure in which objects grow and shrink from different angles and proportions in a single frame.
Ms. Hediger's tiny Harlem apartment, which she shares with her pet guinea pig, gets a fresh coat of paint for each new photograph, and it's stuffed with props. She said she finds inspiration in the postures of people on the subway, often sketching on the train and appropriating poses or movements for her photographs. She teaches photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but scrapes by with as little money as she can so as to devote more resources to her pieces.
Ms Hediger's work, said galleriest Debra Klomp Ching, "causes a physical response, excites your entire being and challenges your visual perception and intellectual enquiry. She is committed to the making of her artwork, to expressing herself visually and technically—allmost to the point of obsession. Her artowrk is her life and her life is her artwork. She lives and breathes it."