The German writer Jean Paul was the first to use the word doppelgänger, literally “double-goer”, in 1796. However, in his book Siebenkäs he introduced this neologism in a slightly different variant, doppeltgänger. He explained the term in a footnote: the name for people who see themselves. Remarkably, the book also features the word doppelgänger in its correct form yet with a completely different meaning (the second course).
In 1871 Lewis Carroll wrote the sequel to his book Alice in Wonderland. Its original English title, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, is usually translated into Czech as Alice Behind the Mirror. A looking-glass is an old-fashioned English term for a mirror. Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was also a skilled photographer.
In 1893 Henry P. Ranger had an invention called Mirror For Use In Photography patented as no. 505 127. The device consisted of two mirrors and a camera. The mirrors were positioned so that they were approximately in a right angle. The camera was hidden behind two screens. The photographed person stood between the mirrors, their back to the camera. The result was a five-way portrait.
On 21 June 1917 Marcel Duchamp with his friends Francis Picabia and Beatrice Wood visited the Broadway Photo Shop at 1591 Broadway. This occasion gave rise to the famous photographic postcard with Duchamp’s portrait taken from five different sides. Picabia had himself photographed in the same manner; however, he was not satisfied with the result. He returned to Broadway a couple of days later and had the photographic process in the studio repeated.
In 1946 The Dark Mirror film noir was premiered, a story of twins with different characters suspected of murder. The script was written by Nunnally Johnson who later directed the Oscar-nominated The Three Faces of Eve (1957), a drama about a split personality. By coincidence, Hugo Haas made his American film Lizzie, a psychological thriller about triple personality disorder, in the same year.
In 1970 the British director Basil Dearden shot his last film, The Man Who Haunted Himself. After an opening sequence with a car accident the hero splits into two characters, and his double starts making his life complicated. The director died in a car crash a year later.
In 2003 the Japanese film director Kiyoshi Kurosawa made a black comedy called Doppelganger.
On 2 October 2018 the journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in the Saudi-Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Instead of him, a double walked out of the building wearing the same clothes as Khashoggi, only his shoes were different. This double was probably to cover up a murder which had taken place inside.
|Exhibition||This is me you|
|Place / venue||Polansky Gallery, Brno|
|Dates||1 November – 22 December 2018|
|Curated by||Jiří Havlíček|
|Index||Jiří Havlíček Polansky Gallery Roman Štětina|