From Andrew Frost…
Imagine if you will 25 TV screens arranged around a gallery space, each with a face, both male and female, young and old, European, Asian and African. And they sing in unison, a cappella, the entirety of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album from 1970. The absence of backing music – which is apparently is being fed into the singers ears via earphones – is heightened by the fact that very few of these singing heads can hold a tune. The effect is both mesmerising and horrible, like being trapped in a bar, or birthday party, or Xmas family get together, where someone decides to entertain the gathering with their earnest but off key singing.
This is Candice Breitz’s video installation Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) another in her series of “portraits” in which the notional subject – in this case John Lennon – is notably absent from the frame. Instead, Breitz’s work highlights the uncertain relationship between celebrity and fame, tribute and parody. The work nevertheless creates a sense of the missing subject by virtue of their presence in popular culture, and the deep emotional resonance that person’s work has for the poor chumps on screen. It may be difficult for the viewer, but at least it’s sincere.
Until September 28
Anna Schwartz Gallery, Darlington.
Pic: Candice Breitz, Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon), 2006. 25-Channel Installation: 25 Synchronizable Hard Drives. Duration: 39 minutes, 55 seconds