MENTAL IMAGES x ALISON JACKSON
A Solo Exhibition of Photographs by Alison Jackson
Curated by Indira Cesarine
SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW 2019
VIP FIRST LOOK + PRESS PREVIEW
Tuesday, March 5th 11am-4pm
VIP OPENING NIGHT
Tuesday, March 5th 4pm-8pm
EXHIBITION ON VIEW
March 6th – 11th, 2018
11am – 7pm daily
866 UNITED NATIONS PLAZA
Entrance at 866 East 48th Street, NYC 10017
Indira Cesarine is pleased to present “Mental Images x Alison Jackson” a solo exhibit of photography by artist Alison Jackson curated by Cesarine at this year’s edition of SPRING/BREAK Art Show, taking place from March 5th to March 11th in New York City. Known for being one of the world’s most innovative art fairs, SPRING/BREAK is an annual experimental platform for independent curators to exhibit works by emerging and mid-career artists. This year’s edition, which will feature over 85 curators, revolves around the theme “Fact and Fiction.” A carefully curated selection of works by the celebrated British artist will be on view throughout the fair in Room W11.
Artist Alison Jackson balances on a tightrope between fact and fiction, exploring the notion of ‘What is an image?’ Her work challenges our preconceptions and how photography can transform our relationship to what is ‘real’. She dives head first into the cult of the celebrity, using carefully casted body doubles to re-enact the most intimate, often salacious, imagined private moments of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and JFK, Diana Princess of Wales, the Queen of England, Obama, Brad and Angelina, Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West, among others that have ignited media frenzies over their most mundane moments.
Her photographic portraits are startlingly realistically staged affairs that cast uncannily styled doppelgängers into an entirely fathomable projection of a future that could have been. They answer the question on everyone’s lips, “What if… “
It is perhaps best said in her own words, ‘”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 actually 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 fantastical realism essentially becomes a subversive form of social commentary, drawing in the viewer to question reality. Is it fact or fiction? Jacksons staged scenarios flip the proverbial middle finger to the traditional celebrity photograph presented to glamorize the personas depicted. The viewer wants to believe when they look at a documentary styled photograph that it is “real,” the truth presented with clarity. Alison Jackson’s work challenges the mind of the observer, asking them to question what is “truth” What is “reality” as they are forced to question the sanity of the very world we live in. Her work engages a realistic stage, not with digital manipulation, but rather extensively produced photographic shoots presenting a theatre of the unreal, with actors who claim their characters in realistically carved environments rather than creating “fake” images via retouching or darkroom tricks. Jackson’s productions use the celebrity aura to address archetypal characters that define the history of human identity and the often humorous struggle of how they cope in an age of mass mediation.
“My work is about simulation. Creating a clone or a copy of the ‘real’ on paper. It is not a fake, it takes the place of the ‘real’ for a moment. As Baudrilland puts it, simulation is different from feigning. Feigning is pretending, such as, feigning illness or pretending to be ill. The subject is not ill, just seeming to be, but ‘simulation threatens the difference between ‘true’ and ‘false’, between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’. Since the simulator produces ‘true’ symptoms – is he ill or not? He cannot be treated objectively either as ill or not ill.’ This is what I aim to do: Create likeness of icons, where in image – on paper – the simulation of icons, ‘threatens the difference between ‘true’ and ‘false, between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’.’ The ‘real’ subject becomes ‘not necessary’. The image or icon is more important and more seductive. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t the ‘real’ icon – as long as it looks like him or her – it creates a temporary confusion. I search for this confusion and to create and to create it within my work. I explore to what extent should I create complete fantasy pictures not connected to anything ‘true’ or ‘real’ and the relevance of the connection of something ‘true’.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Alison Jackson is a contemporary, BAFTA award 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. Jackson makes convincingly realistic work about celebrities doing things in private using cleverly styled lookalikes. Likeness becomes real and fantasy touches on the believable. She creates scenarios we have all imagined but never seen before.
Jackson’s photographs raise 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.
“My pictures ask where does the truth end and the lies begin…where the subjective triumphs over the objective.”
Jackson’s work has been widely exhibited in museums, galleries and in public collections across the world, including: Pompidou Centre, La Louvre, The Frances Foundation, Paris; Tate Modern, The Tate Britain, The Hayward Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, London; Liverpool Biennial; San Francisco MoMA; Musée de L’Elysee, Lausanne; International Center of Photography, New York, among many others. Jackson’s artwork has additionally been featured in The Times, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Artnet as well as countless magazines and newspapers globally.
ABOUT CURATOR INDIRA CESARINE
Indira Cesarine is a multimedia artist and curator. In 2014, she founded The Untitled Space gallery, which highlights a program of feminist art. Cesarine’s curatorial for The Untitled Space includes solo shows for artists Sarah Maple, Rebecca Leveille, Fahren Feingold as well as group shows “(HOTEL) XX” at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2018; ”SECRET GARDEN”presenting the female gaze on erotica; “SHE INSPIRES,” a group show of 60 artists exhibiting works honoring inspirational women; internationally-celebrated group shows “UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN,” and “ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE” responding to the political climate in America since the election of Trump, as well as numerous other critically-acclaimed exhibitions. She is additionally the founder and editor-in-chief of globally distributed art and culture publication “The Untitled Magazine.”
Recent press on Indira Cesarine’s exhibitions at The Untitled Space includes Vogue (US), Vogue Italia, CNN, Forbes, Newsweek, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, i-D Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and The Huffington Post among many others.