Celebrities began as ghosts–disembodied voices transmitted through air, voiceless flickering spectres projected in darkness, contractually bound to Hollywood and record companies.
Eventually they became icons, their images repeated so often that they began to feel as if they meant something. No longer just objects of admiration, they were ideal figures–to be modelled, to be identified with.
Now, celebrities only take form in the public light. As shades and shadows, they are multitudinous, god-like in their unknowability, and transient, appearing in palpably negative forms. They are hyperreal, replaceable, homogeneous, and edited.
At the sacrificial altar of fame, they offer up identity in exchange for a rebirth as a fictive persona. Dissociated from real existence, in time they are absolutely forgotten as they recede from public consciousness to pure image to less than nothing.
The Violent Shade / Scarjo
Scarlett Johansson’s bruise-colored shadow. Oil on canvas. 71 x 47 inches. 2017-2019.