THE NEW YORK PHOTO REVIEW, October 6, 2011
I AM THE OTHER: CORNELIA HEDIGER, DOPPELGANGER II — Ed Barnas
In Doppelgänger II, Cornelia Hediger continues her series of conceptual tableau vivants in which she plays all the parts. Each scene is broken down into equally sized parts and combined in a rectilinear grid, usually 2 wide by 3 high. Although precisely divided by solid black lines, the individual parts are slightly misaligned and sometimes out of proportion, creating an impression of an elongated body in some scenes or a difference in height between the characters. The use of a wider 3 x 4 grid stretches the stage in one case and as does a triptych in another.
The stages are all interiors – rooms or stairwells whose styling implies a time past, which is reinforced by costuming – mostly below-the-knee dresses and skirts and white hose (not stockings)—and enhanced by grid lines that suggest an old-style multi-pane window.
The interaction between Cornelia’s alter egos varies from image to image. Sometimes they are dressed alike, sometimes not. In one scene a character is in slacks, adding an anima-animus tone to an otherwise all-female cast. Previous work seen from this series had only two protagonists. This new work expands the cast to include three or four incarnations, sometimes as full actors, other times only as a fleeting blur in the background.
In this work there is an overall feeling of coming into the middle of something. Not quite knowing what is going on, I find myself studying the scene for details to puzzle out the before and after. I like their ambiguity. And while I am not normally a fan of constructed photographs, I find these strangely intriguing and am drawn into them: an essential ingredient for a photograph I would be willing to hang on my wall.