Richard Simpkin - richard and famous
Open Eye Gallery is one of my favourite places to visit as interesting exhibitions are often displayed there. They used to be on Wood street but has now moved down to the new building close to Albert Dock.
This month, they are featuring ‘celebrities’, not actual celebrities but artists expressing their concept through the visual language that celebrities images gives.
Richard Simpkin set himself a lifelong project since 1989 to present of taking any chances to take pictures with the most well-known people in the world. There is a long timeline with designated pictures that he took with celebrities he encountered in certain years. He has sofar met 414 well known people and has photos taken with them. it is said that this project documents the journey of his teen to adulthood, in addition to the almost impossible achievement that is to get access to celebrities and have pictures taken with them nowadays, it has been a big success to him. It also says that ”the project shows them almost to be puppets in his own game of charades” (by Martin Parr) which linked me to be thinking: seeing a row and another row of pictures of him taken with celebrities people may think about who the guy next to the artist is prior to the actual artist’s purposes, and if you look at the timeline as an overall image, it shows that the famous person in the picture are not the celebrities but the artist himself.
I read the interview and information about the details of the project, and what I most remember him saying was that he doesn’t consider today’s so-called celebrities to be real celebrities but rather people with fame who will be dissolved in the near future, he calls them plastic celebrities. Real celebrities are, to him, people such as
Katherine Hepburn (American Actress)
Elizabeth Taylor (British American Actress)
and some others. However I have realised that he doesn’t really follow the trend and fashion of celebrities like other crazy fans do. Sometimes he doesn’t even know how they look like until somebody tells him or after he does research, or after seeing a few times. Some revieweres considerer his piece of artwork as:
”The work could be said to be self-absorbing, egotistical and a little disturbing, after all, there’s a case for him being a serial stalker. And to put on an exhibition (and book) with hundreds of photographs of yourself surely feeds your ego!”
Here are some of the pictures from his project: