Art, Book January 26, 2011 By Rachel A Maggart

title37 Doppelgänger
Splice, cut, burn, sharpen, dismember, Doppelgänger: Images of the Human Being, a new book from Gestalten, asks the question: just how do we mask or reveal our inner selves? Exploring current trends in physical abstraction, each of its seven chapters — Embody, Dissolve, Appeal, Reshape, Perform, Deform, and Escape — signifies a different approach to the technical manipulation we exact on our corporeal façades. Invoking Dada, Surrealism, high fashion, and industrial design aesthetics, Doppelgänger taps into our creative potential and art’s transformative agency (certainly apropos classical conventions). A host of contemporary artists show how digital media has shattered allegiances to da Vinci’s ideal proportions and equipped us with truly radical modes of expression, erasing or positing archetypes we never imagined.
     Highly stylized, Doppelgänger: Images of the Human Being is nevertheless earnest in conveying ironies inextricable to the human experience. We are chameleon creatures, ever morphing and reaching deep into ancient folklore to find our “true” identities. As Phyllis Galembo depicts natives in ritual (Ngar Ball Traditional Masquerade Dance, Cross River, Nigeria, 2004), other artists frame humans in the phantasmagorical and slightly grotesque (e.g. Madame Peripeti’s Pughatory series).

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