This work is one of only two remaining video pieces from a series started in 1974. Three other works were exhibited at the Video Show, Serpentine Gallery in May 1975. Doppelgänger was made during a two-year artist’s residency at South Hill Park Art Centre. Since its recovery and restoration it has been exhibited as an installation work.
“Doppelgänger is a video performance in which Shemilt manipulates her body and her image into creating a phantasmal double of herself. The piece begins with a close up of the face of Shemilt in front of the camera. A mirror reflects her applying make-up to her face with very dry, precise gestures. During these actions two sound tracks can be heard: they are records of two psychological analysis on schizophrenia, evoking a double personality. At some point, the performance is suddenly interrupted by another image, showing the face of the artist. Then the action goes back to what we could call the ‘mirror scene’. At that point she drops the concealer and takes a dark drawing pen: and like on canvas, evoking the traditional image and position of the painter, and the use of mirror in self-portraits, she begins to draw on the mirror in front of her.
At the end of the performance other images of the body and the face of the artist with the overlapping layers of other body/face images appear, which evoke once more, a multifaceted personality. Finally we get back to the mirror tableaux and the artist has gone: the doppelgänger has taken her place.” – Dr Laura Leuzzi.