28 March - 26 July 2015

Candice Breitz

Candice Breitz’s compelling video installations explore media stereotypes to address the way identities are created and performed. The three major works we are showing each present distinct aspects of her work.

Breitz's latest trilogy, The Woods (2012), comes in three parts, each referring to one of the world’s largest film industries: Hollywood (USA), Bollywood (India) and Nollywood (Nigeria). Breitz says, "Each of these cinematic giants maintains its hold on the mainstream by selling us fairly digestible stories that are designed to appease us, to offer us visions of lives that are better, braver, happier, thinner—and, importantly, to keep us coming back for more." Breitz interviews Hollywood and Bollywood child actors and Nollywood adult actors who play children. In the work, the child actors play adults, while the adult actors are finally presented as the adults they are. Breitz says, "Children are always understudies in a sense, observing and aping adults—and the culture of adults—to model themselves into social beings."

The spectacular sixteen-channel work King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson) (2005) presents sixteen Michael Jackson fans performing the entire Thriller album. Breitz chose her subjects from hundreds who responded to advertisements she placed on fan websites and magazines. They were selected for the strength of their obsession with Jackson rather than for their resemblance to him or for their talent. Each was recorded separately and was free to dress, sing and dance as they pleased. Breitz presents the sixteen videos in sync, creating a collective choral cover version. She has produced similar works based on Madonna, Queen (A Portrait of Madonna), 2005, Bob Marley, Legend (A Portrait of Bob Marley), 2005, and John Lennon, Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon), 2006. These works attest to the ways fans sample and remix superstar personas in their quest for their own self expression.

In Factum (2010), Breitz interviews identical twins and a set of triplets, playing on similarities and differences in what they say and how they say it. 

Breitz was born in Johannesburg in 1972 and lives in Berlin. She has been Professor of Fine Art at Braunschweig University of Art since 2007. Breitz has been included in biennials in Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Gwangju, Taipei and Venice. She is represented by White Cube in London, Kaufmann Repetto in Milan and Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The Woods was commissioned by Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, and Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne. King has been lent by Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.