Candice Breitz: Becoming

  • 14 May 2004 - 14 July 2004

In Becoming (2003), Candice Breitz slips awkwardly into the roles of seven popular Hollywood actresses (Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Meg Ryan, Neve Campbell, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore). Having cut-and-pasted short sequences of these actresses from various films, and isolated the actresses by eliminating the actors who originally appeared opposite them, Breitz re-enacts their performances as precisely as possible.


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Candice Breitz

Candice Breitz
Artist (South Africa)

In the resulting fourteen-channel video installation in Gallery 2, Breitz's diligent mimicry of the actresses results in disturbingly earnest renditions of their performances. As the artist puts herself through each routine, the somewhat narrow range of familiar gestures and expressions available to the actresses (and thus to Breitz herself), points to the limits of media subjectivity, to the wooden vocabulary of being that is sold to us by Hollywood.


Becoming raises many complex questions facing contemporary subjectivity, focusing in particular on the way in which identity increasingly takes its cues from media-produced prototypes. Alternatively, the work might be read to suggest, that screen icons achieve stardom precisely because - beyond the clichés that they perpetuate - ultimately, we imagine these stars as real people.