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Suzanne Doppelt - Biography

Suzanne Doppelt is a renowned Paris-based contemporary writer and photographer, and currently professor of photography at the European Graduate School EGS. Suzanne Doppelt studied philosophy and became a teacher of literature and philosophy in Paris. It was during her time as a philosophy and literature teacher that she became interested in photography and decided to pursue a second career as a photographer. This decision led to a new picto-literary style in her work, which can be seen in her books Totem (2002), Quelque chose cloche (2004), La 4e des plaies vole (2004), and Le pré est vénéneux (2007). Suzanne Doppelt also works on ghosts and what the fantastic logic of their appearances and disappearances might imply for an economy of the living.

In the publication OXO, she published her photographic collaboration with Pierre Alféri’s poems, Kub Or. An artisan of the detail, Suzanne Doppelt also co-published with Pierre Alféri the highly visible cultural journal Détail. In addition to producing and showing her own work, she is the house photographer for Vacarme, a journal in which some of Europe's most engaging thinking takes place. Suzanne Doppelt has exhibited her work at many different venues, including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Centre Culturel Français, Damas; Pavillon des arts, Paris; Institut Francais, Naples; Ecole des Beaux Arts de Nîmes; Galerie Pennings in Holland; and NYU, New York.

In her book Rin Rang Wrong (2004), Suzanne Doppelt deals with a variety of topics, from a multiplicity of voices that remain unfixable amongst the text. The work is contrasted with starkly precise and abstract photographs along with philosophical musings. The text enters dialogue with the sophists. To go along with the book, Suzanne made had an art exhibit at New York University from December 2006 - January 2007. Professors Avital Ronell, Ulrich Baer and Eduardo Cadava from Princeton University will opened the show with introductory remarks. Doppelt read from her book in French accompanied in English by American poet and translator Cole Swensen. William Rausche has said the following about the book:

What is at stake here is a discursive perversion, a gesture of transvaluation that tells us that there is something like a children’s story in every naturalist discourse, that there is something like a fairy tale in every scientific fragment…. Ring Rang Wrong tells us that the poetic task is one of connecting distant fragments of the world and making them produce new sounds. Or of putting them together, as if it were a matter of one of the many photographic diptychs that traverse the book, interrupting it, making a new diptych, a new Doppelt, in each instance, in every moment, and with language itself.

Suzanne Doppelt has been called the Man Ray of contemporary photography by the Parisian magazine Les Inrockuptibles. The magazine also said that her work has the 'supple movement of Moholy-Nagy’. She has produced a body of work that disregards no longer necessary subjectivities. Her oeuvre ranges from alluring juxtapositions of food particles to jointures of architectural detail. Her lens captures the flash of the unconscious, offering a momentary glimpse of what might otherwise be given over to immediate repression. Suzanne Doppelt's work can be thought of as existentialist in the way it closely examines the layers below the obvious surface phenomena of perception. Suzanne Doppelt is not satisfied to use her camera to describe, represent, or even reveal what could be assumed to lie hidden beneath the appearance of things. In keeping the emphasis on the detail, her camera establishes the articulation of things with the aim of discovering their improbable conjunction and ineluctable complicities.

The philosopher Avital Ronell in collaboration with Ulrich Baer writes the following about Suzanne in the essay, Hungry eye: The photography of Suzanne Doppelt:

The Hunger Artist is at once abject and proud, celebrity and loser, starving and sated, anorectic and overindulged. There is something that cannot be swallowed. Whatever Kafka was getting at or withdrawing from, the fact remains that our relation to hunger, to food and its representation, is uncanny. At once intimate and distant, human feeding time, whether one is cutting down or beefing up, is barely manageable. On the incessant binge that is called existence, we accept, incorporate, and eliminate food. Yet this intimacy remains alien, other to the body, which mutely seeks its correlate in the idiom of the image. And it is precisely this relation, which despite its materiality remains largely imaginary, that lies at the heart of Parisian photographer and writer Suzanne Doppelt's pictorial project.

Avital Ronell wrote the post-face to Suzanne Doppelt’s book The Field is Lethal, in which she lays out an incredible praise of Suzanne:

I’ll just spit it out: I find Suzanne Doppelt, as work and Dasein, aspersonality—a category that, according to Schelling, has been severely underrated by philosophers, if not entirely banned from discursive precincts—to be genuinely remarkable. It’s been a while since I have considered her singularity and my own inability to nail it. I have reserved for her double occupancy on my imaginary wish list, as writer and photographer. She’s up there with the best of them, and yet her discretion allows for little fanfare and only minutely disbursed portions of appreciation

Suzanne Doppelt is the author of a number of books including: Lazy Suzie. (POL. November 2009),Le pré est vénéneux. (POL. 2007), La 4e des plaies vole. (Inventaire. April 13, 2004), Le monde est rond: autour de l'encyclopédie. (Creaphis. 2004), Quelque chose cloche. (POL. 2004), Ring Rang Wrong. (Burning Deck Press. 2006), Totem. (POL. 2002), Oiseaux 1000 photos. (Solar. October 11, 2001), Raptus (Week-end). (L'Attente. 2000), Dans la reproduction en 2 parties égales des plantes et des animaux. (POL. 1999), 36 candele. (Cronopio/AFAA. 1998), L'hypothàse du château. (Galerie Snapshot. 1997), Mange. (Galerie Snapshot. 1995), Kub Or. (POL. 1994), Oxo. (Burning Deck Press. 2004) and Le dauphin: dossier, les mammifàres marins. (Nathan. 1991).

Suzanne Doppelt is a Professor of Photography at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where she conducts an Intensive Summer Workshop.