Ken Wentworth

Text from feature article on West Space exhibition, Wednesday, June 7, 2006.

Rich and famous celebrities can be viewed in a different light now Ken Wentworth has given them the Poparazzi treatment.

 Nicole Richie - with only one arm and bearing the title I'd give my left arm to be part of the Cultural elite - is one of the many famous faces in the Melbourne artists satirical look at people and popular culture.

 On the walls Richie keeps company with Nicole Kidman, Robbie Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Dannii Minogue and other stars. In the wake of this exhibition are piles of tattered celebrity mags. In today's image based world everyone enjoys reading about celebrities, he says.

 "Thats the world we live in. We are immersed in it and as an artist thats what you comment on, the world around you."  he says.  "(The images) are meant to be bizarre and they're meant to make you think. They're meant to be funny."

    "On one level it is a bit of a joke and it is quite amusing but underneath that you can, if you want to, read more serious underlying messages."

    As in the mags themselves, each picture has a bold title and Wentworth has also compiled notes that visitors can read if they want to explore further.

    "They have the option of doing the deep intellectual route ... or they can take it as light entertainment" he says. "They are accessable - anyone can look at them and identify with them."

    Each piece is open to interpretation. Wentworth says that as well as being comical they also suggest other themes such as red-carpet status, sacrifices for success, stereo types, vanity, marketing, media manipulation of images and a disregard for the environment.

    Wentworth, 33, says after completing his bachelor degree at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2000, it took him a while to find his niche.

    He chose celebrities because they are bright and colourful and draw people in. They're also easy to get; he cut photographs from magazines and painted over them.

    "They're not about the actual celebrity per se, they're meant to get you thinking so you think about other things ... a hook to get you in."

Article written by - Jordana Borensztajn.

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