Alison Jackson / Truth is Dead

Truth is dead
23 March 2024

Fotomuseum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht presents an exciting exhibition by British photographer and filmmaker Alison Jackson from 23 March until 15 September 2024. The exhibition 'Truth is Dead' shows sixty humorous portraits of international celebrities and two videos. The artist uses cleverly styled lookalikes and actors to stage simulated paparazzi shots and documentary footage.

The famous public figures include members of the British royal family, David and Victoria Beckham, Bill Clinton, Simon Cowell, Elton John, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Angela Merkel, Marilyn Monroe, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

As a society, we are obsessed with the lives of celebrities. Stars are hounded by the paparazzi and the tabloids follow their every step. The once private sphere has become a public media spectacle and consumable product. We ask ourselves: What is real and what is staged? And is this distinction even still relevant? Alison Jackson gives her own drastic view: "The truth is dead. Nothing we are shown can be trusted; everything can be faked and nothing is authentic."

The photographer explores the contemporary cult of celebrity, with the fraught relationship between the private and the public. Jackson uses actors or lookalikes to create convincingly realistic paparazzi shots of the intimate, often salacious, yet imagined private lives of celebrities. A collection of these photographs is bundled in her book 'PRIVATE'.

Jackson’s images are acts of deception, imitation, and provocation, proving that we cannot trust our own eyes when it comes to photography. Her fabrications also represent a deeper, even more radical truth. They reflect the longings and illusions of the viewers, toying with their perceptions and challenging the claim to objectivity. Sometimes hyperreal, obscene, or titillating, the photographic parodies are always entertaining and humorous.

Alison Jackson (1960, Southsea) studied sculpture at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and photography at the Royal College of Art in London. She won a BAFTA (British Academy Film Award) for her TV series Doubletake (2001-2003) and received an International Center of Photography Infinity Award in 2004. The portraits, sculptures, films and videos of the artist have been exhibited worldwide in galleries and museums such as Tate Modern in London (2010), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011), Centre Pompidou in Paris (2014), and Fotografiska in Stockholm (2019). Jackson lives and works in London.