Profile, 2017, 3 single-channel
videos, colour, sound, loop; variation A: 2 mins, 20 secs; variation B: 3 mins 27 secs; variation C: 3 mins 21 secs, commissioned by the South African Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017. Clockwise from top left: Igshaan Adams, Dean Hutton, Sue Williamson, Banele Khoza, Gerald Machona, Roger Ballen, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Steven Cohen, Gabrielle Goliath, Chuma Sopotela. Collection of The Jewish Museum, New York
Breitz came to prominence with Rainbow Series (1996), a controversial suite of photomontages made from found ethnographic and pornographic fragments, and many of her early videos similarly used appropriated sources, notably Him + Her (1968 – 2008), two seven-channel video installations that repurposed dialogue from Hollywood films to explore gender formation. An invitation to represent South Africa at the 2017 Venice Biennale motivated Breitz to produce three short videos exploring the complex workings of representation. Conceived and shot in Cape Town in early 2017, Profile features ten artists of various genders, races and nationalities who live and work in South Africa. Bracketed by a loose rendition of Diana Ross’s 1979 song I’m Coming Out, each video frontally portrays these performers against a green backdrop. Profile’s spoken narrative is spliced together from improvised statements that conflate Breitz’s biography with those of her collaborators; the outcome is an unreliable portrait of everyone involved. The snappy editing reflects Breitz’s consistent interest in remediation, as well as her indebtedness to collage. Breitz’s platforming of her contemporaries in Profile is correlative with her vocal activism against patriarchy and the hegemony of whiteness.
This text is adapted from Phaidon’s publication 'African Artists: From 1882 to Now', with introduction by Chika Okeke-Agulu and glossary by Joseph L Underwood.
As featured in the New York Times, ARTnews, Colossal, Metropolis and New York Magazine’s The Strategist - the book is a groundbreaking A-Z survey of the work of over 300 modern and contemporary artists born or based in Africa.
Latitudes Co-Founder, Lucy MacGarry consulted on the selection process for the artists featured within the publication.
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