Angelina Jackson I Theo Ellison

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School of Fine Art, Photography

Theo Ellison’s work was exhibited at our previous exhibition, The Campaign.  Since then, Theo has exhibited at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Quad Gallery, Derby and in a group show with other RCA students, Telling Tales, which was a Fringe event at the Liverpool Biennial. His practice explores iconography and he has begun to delve into the symbolism of religious iconography and its relationship to the seductive image.


On Angelina Jackson

“I’ve always been attracted to, but had a distrust of iconography. The power of its imagery within the popular consciousness, and its ubiquity within society, lends it a clout rarely afforded to the more obscure.

Making the familiar unfamiliar through subverting iconographic imagery is what surrealist André Breton termed the juxtaposition of two or more ‘distant realities’. This is the structure of the ‘uncanny valley’ hypothesis, where the familiar and the unfamiliar merge to create dissonance. It is through the use of this process that I cultivate imagery that is simultaneously seductive and abject.

Working primarily with photography, my work abstracts and deconstructs archetypal imagery for the purposes of iconoclasm. Within an iconoclastic dimension, the tension between the known and the unknown allows a fresh context in which to see the familiar, cultivating new interpretations.

While objects and faces often strive to transform their status of the unfamiliar towards the familiar, my work is a reversal of that process, making the familiar unfamiliar.

In Angelina Jackson, Jackson’s endlessly fascinating face is taken to the extreme as a kind of bizarre incarnation of the Black Madonna images of medieval times. Jackson effectively sculpted his face to resemble the archetypes of western beauty but through this process created a new image, one that fits within the ‘uncanny valley’ hypothesis.

The morphed otherness that makes the familiar unfamiliar reflects surrealist Andre Breton’s juxtaposition of two or more ‘distant realities’. Oscillating between these points of the known and the unknown, this portrait forms a dissonance, displaying the horror of the tortured celebrity in a simultaneously seductive and abject form.”


Year: 2014

Edition: 1/7 

Image Size: 48.6cm x 60cm 
Direct print on Aluminium Dibond



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