Fuelled by a very modern obsession, L.A. Migiotto gained access to the Lyons Archive, a vast photographic treasure chest, chronicling over 30 years of celebrity from candid shots, to infamous moments in time.
From this gold mine, Migiotto has curated images of icons such as Bowie, Madonna, Jagger and Winehouse – figures the world has elevated to levels of unattainable perfection, previously reserved for those depicted in myths, legend and fiction. While to many they are heroes, in just one moment they can be made the villain… Migiotto’s work seeks to question, who created them? Was it us, as a society? Do we have as much influence over them as they have over us.
Unique and full of contrast and colour, each image has been treated with a process of digital screens to provide a literal representation of how we are separated from these figures by nature of their fame. Drawing on a range of traditional and digital techniques, each icon’s image is further manipulated to elevate it as we elevate these people in real life, to something perfect, unreachable, almost fictional. Unicorns in a forest of grey.
Elton – The Sun King From Pinner
With his ‘dressing-up box’ the envy of the world, Elton has taken on many guises from Louis XIV to Rocket Man with as much added glitter as you can handle. In real life existing in a bubble of success – outside the chaos of reality – but still feeling the itch of the universe calling for more. Are the successful ever satisfied as they battle against the insatiability of the ‘id’.
Bowie – The Man Who Fell to Earth
In an ode to Major Tom, Starman, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, L.A. Migiotto calls upon Bowie’s recurring themes of space and the infinite void we live in and seek to fill with our own creations and lofty goals. Drawing on images from NASA expeditions and space, Bowie is enshrined in a solar eclipse.
Jagger – The Rooster
A marriage of two images, one from the Half-Time Show at the Super Bowl XL, at Ford Field Detroit USA, 2006, the other depicting Jagger’s iconic swagger as ‘The Rooster’ extends his hands to the sky, reminiscent of a prayer of joy in the act of creation. In a shared moment, everyone acknowledges we are here, we are alive – and that alone is worth celebrating.
Beyoncé – Behind the Beauty
Here Beyoncé is depicted within a marriage of the sky and the earth, a myth that goes back to Ouranos and Gaia, the ancestors of the Greek pantheon of gods themselves. Taking the moment of inspiration, as an artist, but also more personally, the butterfly represents one half of her first child’s namesake. The other half, the ivy that flows across the earth around her.
Madonna – She Is.
The mistress of recreation and taking on a role, and a willing purveyor of both sides of the hero and villain story. Seductress, gay icon, feminist… taking on misunderstandings, the battle of the sexes, and the power of sex as a tool against men/misogyny after it has been weaponised against women for so long. The epitome of the forbidden and being exposed.
Iggy – The Madness is Calming
Just like the man himself, this piece mixes the wild and the cerebral as it juxtaposes a primal scream – a powerfully loud image with a quiet sound – with an atmospheric landscape of rain and thunder. The calm and the chaos, reflecting the binary nature of reality.
Amy – Incandescent and Gone
In a subdued though captivating image from the time of her first album, Amy sings live at HMV Oxford St, London. Simply a girl with her guitar – but in the background, Icarus and his father Daedalus, plummet. Amy, like Icarus, had a famously tumultuous relationship with her father. Paired with an unlikely cliff line at sunset – a recreation of a spectacular painting by Jacob Peter Gowy – as a recurring screen theme.
Mariah – Spotlights and Darkness
Even caught in an unexpected flash, Mariah will always seize her moment to shine at the centre of attention. This image captures ‘Mimi’ almost as though she has lifted the veil to witness her trajectory of success and examines the evolution of her public persona, the idea of a diva, attributed to her opera singer mother and the trials of living in the public eye.
Britney – I Will Win
Britney became a cog in a machine that views art and artist as a commodity to be taken advantage of, but continued to be successful in the face of it all. Celebrity laid bare in the form of a manic act. An expression of genius from madness. Entertainment as an act of need and love. In Britney we see the paradox of creating something for others to be rewarded with a success that perverted the very purity of the artistic process – and in our view of the creator herself.
Bono – The Peacesinger
Inspired by U2’s imagery of a child soldier, a young boy in a helmet looking defiantly at the viewer – the cover to their 1983 album War – this piece portrays Bono as a warrior armed with that which he expresses, his art and his song. It speaks of megalomania and a personal struggle of self belief vs. impostor. Internal and external contradictions and conflict… fighting the chaos of the world by creating art and beauty.