Doppelganger is a work by Garry Stewart, originally created for inclusion in the Versus Rodin: bodies across space and time exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2017.
In Doppelganger, Garry Stewart sets out to parody and reframe the notion of the doppelganger, by annulling the suggestions of horror and foreboding and instead playfully representing this mythical character as delightfully camp, impish and ironically uncanny.
“Doppelganger” is a German word that is most generally associated with 19thcentury Gothic and Romantic literature, where a protagonist is haunted by a mysterious character who eerily appears as their identical twin. This doppelganger twin is traditionally the harbinger of ill fate or doom, and signals a sense of foreboding, danger, misfortune and the possibility of impending death. There exists a quasi-horror at the idea of the doppelganger, as the protagonist contemplates with great anxiety the appearance of another ‘self’ lurking in the shadows.
The doppelganger fragments identity and dismantles the unified sense of self – one of the central themes of the Versus Rodin exhibition – and gives rise to the connotations of multiple personalities and fluid gender. Traditionally, the doppelganger character was usually male and, at times, hinted of an underlying homoeroticism and latent sexuality.
In ADT’s Doppelganger, the dancers wear custom-made masks that are printed with the face of ADT dancer Matte Roffe, whom they shadow and interact with in an evocation of this historical mythical figure.