Jessica Voorsanger is an American artist living in London. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA) and Goldsmiths College (MA Fine Art), and has had one-person exhibitions in London, New York, Edinburgh, Berlin & Turin. Recently she exhibited at Gallerie 33, Berlin; The ICA ; Whitechapel Art Gallery; and also completed a project for Art on the Underground.
Jessica’s work explores the concept of ‘celebrity’ within popular culture – through obsession, fans and media representation. Until recently, she
has dealt specifically with the relationship between celebrities and their ‘fans’, and the ideology of fan culture. She attempts to capture the inaccessibility of celebrities by confronting a fan’s excitement and eternal love, with the improbability of them meeting their idol. She also believes that the present overwhelming domination of ‘reality TV’ has changed the concept of celebrity, so that it no longer just describes ‘people of talent’ – but the notorious also.
Following this new line of enquiry, she explores the interchangeability of celebrity with its audience through impostorism. In 2008, for her piece Stage Struck at the New Art Gallery Walsall, Voorsanger created a nightclub installation. This installation consisted of a stage set and live karaoke system; costumes and wigs for 14 assorted celebrities; a dressing area; and painted portraits of the those celebrities.
The celebrities included: Elvis, Diana Ross, David Hockney, Morrissey, Amy Winehouse, Cher, Paul Weller, Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, Devo, George Harrison (Sgt. Pepper), Kurt Cobain, David Bowie & Siousxie Sioux. Behind the stage there was a film of people performing the karaoke (Stage Struck Film pt.1, Stage Struck Film pt.2, Stage Struck Film pt.3), usually dressed as one celebrity but singing a song of another – e.g. Amy Winehouse singing David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. The piece relates to the idea that celebrity, or more recently – notoriety, can become interchangeable. She purposely selected people she felt had earned their celebrity though their abilities – real celebrities.
Jessica Voorsanger works in a variety of media, including: painting, sculpture, installation, mail art, film and performance. The projects themselves often dictate the medium that is most appropriate.