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Sebastian Bieniek solo exhibition “Doppelgänger” will present a selection of some of his most recent works, realized between 2016 and 2018. Meaning a “look-alike” or “double of a living person”, the concept of Doppelgänger has been used in literature as well as in psychoanalysis to explore the duality of human nature. Taken from legends and myths of the European folklore, where the appearance of one person’s double was often interpreted as a negative omen, the topic of Doppelgänger became very popular during Romanticism, thanks to the works of Jean-Paul and E.T.A Hoffman. Related by Freud to the feeling of uncanny (“Das Unheimliche”), the Doppelgänger has often been portrayed, in the art as well as in literature, as a disturbing figure, able to mislead one person’s self-concept and develop in hounding behaviors. Exploring the different facets of this idea, Sebastian Bienieks’ works investigate the inherent duality of human nature. Ironic and provocative, his portraits play with the invisible boundaries between fiction and reality, dragging the viewer inside the kaleidoscopic spectrum of their bewildering appearance. The artwork’s surface becomes here a sort of magic mirror, showing and making sense out of all the invisible pieces creating the figure’s puzzle. Everything, in the artist production, may result in a chance “encounter” between the character and its several doubles: from the intimacy of a hug to the fleeting and almost unnoticed contact of one or several hands on the character’s body, these figures never really appear to be aware of the presence of their multiple Doppelgängern. Rather than being uneasy, they face the observer with a fearless gaze, inviting them to play the game and give up solving the riddle behind their real presence. Claiming that “art is a game”, the artist encourages us to explore our personal and social identity with a more playful attitude and reminds us how sometimes, in order to really see ourselves we must be able to look at the other.

 

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Sebastian Bieniek

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