On the contemporary art scene, Candice Breitz seems to be a symptom of our times. Representative of the Postproduction generation, her work suprises us by the radical way it makes use of new technology. Like other world famous artists who arrived at the forefront of the art world in the 1990s – Philippe Parreno, Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, Christian Marclay, Francesco Vezzoli –, she uses sampling, cut-ups, and reappropriation as new creative media.
Born in South Africa, where television has developed in parallel with the first video players to appear in households – making it possible to record and watch programmes outside the constraints imposed by the mass media (temporality, control, censorship, etc) –, Candice Breitz soon focused her work on the emancipating potential of new technology. Rejecting the stance of a passive consumer of pre-formatted images, she composes her own scenarios by selecting, sampling, cutting and re-using images.
The resulting works have in common a fascination for images produced by the mass media —magazine ads, music videos, soap operas, Hollywood films — as well as a certain critical distance from them. Although global culture is at the centre of her work, the aim is not naïve mystification, but the creation of a new relationship between the viewer and the image: a relationship that is more complex and critical than the one created by their traditional distribution channels.
In addition to the critical potential they generate, Candice Breitz’s works provide the viewer with the keys to knew knowledge, and thus the power to rethink his or her way of being in the world. Although the systems she creates are each more complex than the next in terms of technological ingeniousness, they all place the viewer at the centre au centre of an artistic premiss that is as clear as it is attractive: that it is possible to reappropriate the world of the media and shape it at will.