This series, “Of Idols, Icons, and Worship”, in which lexicons of pop culture are presented as iconic cultural symbols, is about our obsessive preoccupation with celebrities and fame – at times and by some to a level of almost unquestioning worship – thus transmuting them into modern day idols.
The series was first materialized back in 2005 with a very rough idea, a quick, raw portrait, “Keith Richards as a Jesus Figure” – a representation of an entertainment icon who “suffered” the perils of rock & roll to fulfill expectations of our ideals of fame, stardom, and the untouchable celebrity status. Particularly, his excessive lifestyle was happening at what was a crucial time for entertainment culture and it’s complex development into what it is today, beginning then with music and it’s profound effect of youth culture in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
This concept remained in the rough until my analysis and further comprehension of the notion developing behind the images, which manifested itself again with “Oprah as the Mother Theresa of Suburbia, as Appeared to Me On A Piece Of Wood”, a piece that in particular references the instance of the supposed apparition of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast that was later auctioned for a substantial sum. This is critical on various levels: for one, because of the immense power that someone like Oprah has to influence society’s behaviors, opinions, and consumption habits; idolized by her followers and rendering her tremendous power to sway – much in the same way than religious beliefs do. This ties in to a second element, the piece being created on a found piece of wood, which was for me a way to express the fervor of religious beliefs and worship, to the point that something so removed of symbolic meaning as a burnt piece of toast could generate such ardent religious euphoria… which then quickly turned into a gratuitous financially rewarding venture; a perfect example of our obsessive and compulsive consumer culture.
This series is an on-going one, in which I am dealing with iconic figures from all aspects of entertainment, as evident in Britain’s troubled yet genius Pete Doherty, or Frank Black (lead singer of the American band The Pixies) – both icons from more underground references – all the way to modern pop culture uber-celebrity, Paris Hilton.