In Cornelia Hediger’s Doppelgänger series, her female subjects are elongated, fragmented or distorted, and the rooms that these figures inhabit have a dream-like, almost fairytale quality to them. There is an overall mood of emotional provocation, tinged by fragility and doubt, which is counterbalanced by the formal rigor and control of the artist. The most successful of these images manage to play with and explore these tensions. As a result, these photographs can be read as a visual narrative, an intimate quest to solve the unsolvable puzzle of the self.
Hediger’s work consists of a grid of six distinct photographs assembled into one overall image. At first glance there is an enticing, almost nos- talgic aura to them—the cumulative effect of the old-fashioned dresses and black Mary-Jane shoes, the grandmotherly stockings, the quaint antique dolls, and the delicate porcelain teacups. The rooms that her characters inhabit seem eerily empty, out of time, like abandoned institutional wards or domestic interiors that remain untouched by the glowing screens, molded plastics and hard shiny surfaces of 21st Century life.
But if you look more closely at these images, they are tinged by elements which are darker and more forbidding: hints of conflict and violence, psychic loss and wounding, sexual explorations, and deep psychological ambivalence. What could otherwise be precious or cloying is toughened up by a vision that is attracted to probing perilous emotional terrain.