Breitz, Candice


South African, b. 1972; lives and works in Berlin, Germany


Since the mid-1990s, Berlin-based artist Candice Breitz has produced a body of work treating various aspects of the structure of identity and psychological identification. Breitz's materials reveal an early interest in the everyday mediations of racial, and especially sexual, identity in South Africa; white-out connotes both the banality of forgone censorship and the invisibility of such racially coded power in several important early series. Breitz's subsequent photographic works, sometimes compared to the photomontages of the German Dadaist Hannah Höch, conflate fetishisms both pornographic and ethnographic to critical ends. 

With the turn of the twenty-first century, Breitz embraced multi-channel video installation and began a sustained examination of the form of the portrait and the subtleties of the mass-mediated subject's experience of enjoyment. Although predicted by the Surrogate Portraits of 1998, it was with the subject of popular music—fully expressed in the video installations Legend, King, Queen, and Working Class Hero, as well as the excellent photographic Monuments series—that Breitz began her examination of the appropriation of mass cultural forms through the performativity of fan enthusiasms. Breitz's work attempts to reach the absolute of exteriority, with an ambiguous ambivalence reminiscent of Andy Warhol, for whom stardom and anonymity, success and disaster were continuous, and an archival operation recalling the nominalist photographic grids of Bernd and Hilla Becher, for whom the exception did not reveal the rule.

– Samuel T. Johnson

Artworks by Breitz, Candice

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