June 2017

APAC / June 2017 117 , Alison Jackson is a contemporary artist who explores the cult of celebrity – an extraordinary phenomenon created by the media, publicity industries and the public figures themselves. Her work sits squarely in the middle of the current fake news, alternative facts or news debates. As part of our ‘Best in Australia’ series, we profiled her realistic work about celebrities doing things in private using lookalikes. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words Jackson makes convincingly realistic work about celebrities doing things in private using lookalikes. Likeness becomes real and fantasy touches on the believable. She creates scenarios we have all imagined but never seen – the hot images the media can’t get. Jackson raises questions about whether we can believe what we see when we live in a mediated world of screens, imagery and internet. She comments on our voyeurism, on the power and seductive nature of imagery, and on our need to believe. Her work has established wide respect for her as an incisive, funny and thought-provoking commentator on the burgeoning phenomenon of contemporary celebrity culture. Alison works across all arts and media platforms in TV, Publishing, books, is widely exhibited in galleries and museums attracting extensive interest in the news and press. Her images themselves have become just as much a part of popular culture as images of the real celebrities. Born in Hampshire, Alison trained in Fine Art Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art in London, and in Fine Art Photography at The Royal College of Art. She lives and works in London. Alison is Ambassador to the Spinal Injuries Association. Alison Jackson’s notorious photographic portraits, life-like sculptures, films and videos are startlingly realistically staged affairs that cast uncannily styled actors into an entirely fathomable projection of a future that could have been; or the intimate, often salacious, imagined private moments of media icons such as Diana Princess of Wales, the Queen of England, Marilyn Monroe, George Bush, Brad and Angelina, and David Beckham. Jackson’s productions stress- test the implicit belief that a photograph can capture a frozen moment of ‘truth’. ‘At best, a photograph of a celebrity reproduces something authentic only at the very moment the shutter clicks’ says the artist ‘yet we have been teased into giving these moments an absolute and unquestioned authority. However, what we do is create a narcissistic circle where we assert our control over the object of desire: we transform our celebrities into what we want. This whole projective process is further exaggerated by our capacity for fantasy and the inherently titillating nature of the image of a celebrity like Marilyn in flagrante. In this way, my productions, charged with desire, have become more real than the real-life model they are based on, evolving into a ‘mental image’ rather than a direct record of reality’ Jackson’s staging, her subversive form of social commentary which has its historical roots in artist William Hogarth, strips away the veneer of PR and hype that prop up the celebrities that come under her scrutiny. Unlike the paparazzi photo, where the actual real celebrity is caught on film in a frozen moment in time, Jackson’s productions – where the likenesses are recognisable – use the celebrity aura to address a deeper universal lineage, the archetypal characters that define the history of human identity and the humorous struggle of how they cope in the age of mass mediation. Company: Alison Jackson Studios Name: Hannah Winchester Email: [email protected] Web Address: www.alison-jackson.co.uk Address: 134 Lots Road, London, SW10 0RJ Australia Telephone: +44 (0) 207 349 7200 1703AP21

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