PANDEMONIA PANACEA: AGENT2 INTERVIEWS THE PRINCESS OF PLASTIC
INTERVIEW TAMSIN WORRAD
Original article Agent 2 Magazine
IF YOU WERE AT LONDON FASHION WEEK THIS FEBRUARY, YOU’RE PROBABLY AWARE OF PANDEMONIA. AS A 7FT TALL, LATEX COVERED, CARTOONISH CHARACTER, SHE’S SOMEWHAT DIFFICULT TO MISS. ALTHOUGH SHE’S SEEMINGLY EVERYWHERE RIGHT NOW, LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT THIS SELF MADE CELEBRITY. IS SHE A LIVING HOMAGE TO THE POP ART MOVEMENT, A WAY OF COMMENTING ON CONSUMER CULTURE, A PR EXERCISE IN BRANDING? AGENT2 TALKED TO HER TO SEE IF WE COULD GET TO THE BOTTOM OF MYSTERY.
There’s a huge amount of discussion surrounding what Pandemonia stands for and what you’re trying to say. Are you making a fixed statement or are you open to interpretation?
Discussion is a good thing. Traditionally, art is illusive; does any one know the meaning of Mona Lisa’s smile and isn’t it all ‘in the eye of the beholder’ anyway? Can a person be a statement? Pandemonia is a cartoon reflection of metropolitan life in the 21st Century.
You talk about products being the new celebrities: conversely, how much do you think celebrities have become a product or brand themselves? Is your plastic nature a commentary on this?
Products hold the real power and celebrities are products in the media. Being a celebrity you have to manage your image in exactly the same way as a brand does. It’s only the branding that distinguishes one thing from another.
Presentation means everything and it all comes wrapped in plastic. Who needs content when the surface says it all? Commodities are no longer just things of use: they have become part of what we are. I went straight for that laminated look.
You’re placing yourself in the public eye in a huge way, but remaining anonymous at the same time. How do you deal with this duality and is it a deliberate comment on celebrity?
There’s nothing new about anonymity and being in the public eye. Just look at all the advertising. Those images are flawless, and you can’t get beyond the surface.
I live beyond my self as an act of self creation. I’m a conceptual artist presenting the concept of “A Pop Up Celebrity”. Like an advert, I am another image in the media. Pandemonia is a story with legs and mysteries make good copy.
You’ve talked about being the creation of the ideal female shape – blonde, leggy, thin. Are you deriding society’s obsession with feminine perfection or are you part of it?
I’m just as influenced by the current aesthetics as anyone else. I take everything at face value.
The nature of Pandemonia means that you’ll never age – you’ll forever be shiny and new. Are you therefore the ultimate celebrity?
Yes! I’ve taken it to its ultimate conclusion as another pre-packaged multi platform commodity. I work well in print, web, moving image and reality. Its catch up time for the cosmetics industry, they’ve missed a trick or two.
Would you say that becoming part of celebrity culture is the best way to comment on it, or is your immersion into the ‘it crowd’ just a way of getting yourself and your work known?
Definitely! I place myself in the public eye so that I have a bigger impact on objective culture. News is spread in the market place. Celebrities make good press and people relate to them so being one of them is like giving your ideas a free ride. In the glossiest of magazines my ideas get exhibited right next to their influences. And of course the ready made audience is a big bonus. You can’t just buy PR like that!
Are you ever going to reveal what’s behind the latex?
There’s nothing there; isn’t that the point?
Finally, why Pandemonia?
Pandemonium means chaos. In Milton’s Paradise Lost pandemonium