Goldsmiths Curatorial Critique

Candice Breitz – Inner + Outer Space

Posted in Reviews by paulpys on November 11, 2008


Candice Breitz – Inner + Outer Space


There’s nothing more cringe worthy than auditions of pop idol contestants. The compulsively disillusioned ‘performers’ struggle for celebrity and lifestyle, recognition and admiration. As dreams are shattered, contemporary pop culture is littered with faux-divas and desperate wannabes. And then there are simply the loyal fans.


Candice Breitz presents Inner + Outer Space, at Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, an exhibition featuring three video installations Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon), King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson) and Queen (A Portrait of Madonna) from 2005 and 2006. In each of the works the artist has invited fans to perform an entire album of their most beloved pop idol. The final installation consists of synchronised videos of all the performers – singing, miming and, of course, improvising.


Each performer negotiates his or her own mediated ‘pop’ identity – some nearly perfectly mimic the tone and body language of Michael Jackson, whereas others, unblinking, mumble Lennon’s lyrics as if they were merely reciting a shopping list. Breitz’s work explores notions of a common intersubjectivity – how one interprets and stretches an existing cultural material. Ideas of identity become fluid, as performers appropriate the symbolism, the myth of their idol to improvise and play it out for themselves. The collective juxtaposition of all of the performers brings an insight into what makes up the constellation of ‘celebrity’. The fans consume their idols’ identity through clothing, voice tone, dance moves – after all one cannot pull off an MJ without the shiny glove. As the work progresses, the idea of celebrity becomes somewhat hollowed out; performances – increasingly repetitive and bland. The humorous representation goes on for a second too long, plunging into a depthless routine.


Breitz’s work is an unforgettable experience, a briccolage of the sweet and tacky, the cringe worthy and the ‘pop’, the spontaneous and routine. Each performer exposes ways in which we orientate ourselves towards ideas of fame, identity and consumption. As long as we still sing in the shower, we’re destined to be OK.



Candice Breitz

Inner + Outer Space

Part I 30.10 – 27.11.2008

Part II 28.11 – 28.12.2008

Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin

Schlossplatz, Berlin-Mitte


One Response

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  1. luizateixeiradefreitas said, on November 12, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Great review Paul! I really really wanted to see this… it’s in Berlin!!!! :(

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