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"Doppelganger"
2001-01-12 until 2001-03-10
Northern Illinois University Art Gallery in Chicago
Chicago, IL, USA United States of America

Literally meaning double-goer, the word 'doppelganger' commonly references an equivalent other, often an evil, menacing twin, a ghostly surrogate at once identical to and completely opposite an individual. Considering this term as inspiration, this exhibition examines issues of identity, authorship and originality and how these apply to works of art that are manufactured as copies, replicas, versions and variations. Drawing on the writings of Walter Benjamin and exploring the exhibition practices of Alexander Dorner, Doppelganger addresses issues that although relevant decades ago, have reached a pinnacle in today's society. Witnessing contemporarily the extremes of various modes of imitation, repetition and recurrence, we have become accustomed to a degree of equivalency evidenced in the eternal doubling of cultural identity.

Doppelganger, scheduled January 12 through March 10, 2001, focuses on explicit modes of artistic production that subvert the supposition of 'originality' in the fine art realm. Of particular interest is the method by which this exhibition was organized. Artists, including Adam Brooks and Max King Cap, Jeff Dick, Marc Fischer, Lora Lode, Leah Oates, Brian Ritchard and Oli Watt (others TBA), were invited to participate by exploring manners of undermining the 'original.' Suggestive guidelines for achieving this result were provided, with the opportunity for each artist to respond or further these directives in their desired way. Options included: submitting work that addresses the blurring of lines between subjectivity and objectivity, original and multiple, authorship and appropriation; adopting a pseudonym or creating a surrogate identity under which work would be produced; or examining the degree of self-mimicry and overt duplication involved in establishing an identifiable artistic style. Each of these possibilities required the artist to re-think, re-categorize or literally reproduce their person, process or work, purposely tainting respective degrees of 'authenticity.' In this lies the crucial dynamic of this exhibition: artists actively and willingly participating in a project whose goal is a degree of standardization, in a field where innovation is essential.


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