Cannes, France — Alison Jackson, a contemporary artist who explores the cult of celebrity we all live in, kicked off Lions Health. If you don’t know Jackson, she creates convincingly realistic work showing lookalikes of celebrities doing things in private and raises questions about just what we can believe in world intermediated by cameras. Her subjects are the same ones paparazzi go after – Princess Diana, Simon Cowell, George W Bush and so many more. Many of her exhibits, videos and photos are profane, others are funny, and all are entirely provocative.
One of her most notorious shoots took place in front of one of the most famous buildings in the world – Buckingham Palace – with no permission and no permits. She restaged the Kennedys smiling and waving their way through central London in a motorcade of authentic 1960s Lincoln Limousines, motorbikes and cars. The uncanny lookalikes of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie were accompanied by actors dressed as American police officers.
The photo of the staged event was considered the most viral in the world at the time. It garnered over 1.3 billion views and was part of a promotion for James Franco and his new show on Fox.
Jackson is constantly fighting producers, celebrities, institutions and even fans for creative control. Her series on Princess Diana was inspired by reactions to her death. People mourned her as if she was a close relative even though they didn’t know her at all. Jackson created a series of photos that tried to destroy the Princess’s likeness, created alternate storylines of her life, and featured the Princess rolling her eyes at critical state events. The work was shunned by relatives, banned by publications, and even vandalized by Brits. Imagine their reactions to her photos featuring the a likeness of queen on the toilet.
Believe it or not, Jackson is able to express her particular brand of creativity in the service of brands as well. One of our favorites is for the The Body Shop. Enjoy: