Chapter 7 of the Exhibition Catalogue GOLEM
Chapter 7: Doppelgänger
The golem figure is frequently associated with the many-faceted motif of the doppelgänger: the golem as a simplified image of a human being, as an alter ego that gives form to hidden longings.
Jacob Grimm’s retelling of the golem legend in the Zeitschrift für Einsiedler in 1908 introduced the authors of German Romanticism to the golem. The Romantic authors used doppelgängers, human-like dolls, and automata to address the spiritual abysses and desires that stood in opposition to the disenchanted world of rationality.
Encounters with the doppelgänger forced human beings to confront the uncanny sides of their psyche. These literary, artistic metaphors were further developed in the concepts of psychoanalysis. Artists and authors combined their presentations of the golem with the notion of the doppelgänger, in order to paint an enigmatic, ambiguous picture of creator and creation. The self-portrait has remained a popular genre for portraying a doppelgänger.