This is an Artist who leaves nothing to chance. Rather, she works like a researcher – or a investigative detective. Always with a passion to find the perfect angle, the perfect casting and the perfect mask; the exact positioning of the specific props, which are featured prominently to tell the full story.
Stories that with biting humour cut through the din of the media and bring the astonished viewer to a standstill: What? Is there photographic evidence of Trump having sex with Miss Mexico? How did Jackson happen to be in the right place at the right time to capture the moment when Queen Elizabeth took a homely selfie with the family; a seemingly tipsy Angela Merkel wearing only a fur coat, fell into the arms of François Hollande, or Barack Obama sneaked outside for a smoke …
"The truth is dead. Nothing that we're shown can be trusted, everything can be faked and nothing is authentic. What does this knowledge do to us? What does it do to our outlook and how we perceive each other? I want to highlight these issues. And to do that I use humour and the human desire to, in moderation, get a peek behind the public images of the celebrities we assign such great symbolic value," says Alison Jackson.
Alison Jackson is a contemporary artist who with her realistic photographs pushes the boundaries of what we experience – what is genuine and what is fantasy?
Born in Hampshire, she now lives and works in London. She studied Fine Art Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art in London and Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art.
The Truth is Dead exhibition features, to say the least, evocative photographs in which Jackson uses doubles for stars, celebrities and royals. These doppelgängers simulate private, sometimes intimate and exposed, situations. With these staged photographs, Jackson explores the impact that the depicted celebrities have on our experiences and raises questions about celebrity culture and the public desire for gossip.
Oddly enough, Jackson's experience is that it hardly makes any difference that it's obviously not the actual celebrity but a doppelgänger. Such is the need to occasionally fill the void with the kind of superficial meaningfulness that contact with stardom can offer, even if it's fake. The image is a seductive tool that manipulates us and draws us into believing what we see, even though we know that it isn't really true. "Surface, surface, surface," to quote Andy Warhol on our desire and fascination for the superficial.
The search for the authentic is a powerful driving force for Jackson. This need to pore over the truth stems from a childhood characterised by two completely different realities: The public reality shown outwardly and the private reality conducted behind closed doors. The very same dramaturgy that celebrity gossip magazines live on: a public, idealised persona is built up only to then be torn down by revealing details about their private life. What is it that makes this worldwide hysteria for celebrities so pervasive? What is its actual purpose?
"Celebrities are modern days saints – they take the role previously filled by religion and act as icons for us to worship. Today, more people read gossip magazines than go to church, and every celebrity or royal has a set attribute: Kim Kardashian is a flag flyer for body modification; Donald Trump is wearing the emperor’s new clothes; Queen Elisabeth is a dignified matriarch and Princess Diana was a glamourous independent woman (or “hysteric” from some perspective). They give us a point of reference in a confused world, but do these diversions really help us to develop our best selves?"
This fake reality collection has given Alison Jackson great success and Jessica Jarl Exhibitions Producer at Fotografiska International, chuckles at the selected pieces.
"Naturally, many people get upset and Facebook, which bans nipples but allows a great deal of violence, will make a fuss. But this exhibition fascinates with its successful combination of humour and the question as to how we are to relate to one another when nothing and no one can be trusted."