Candice Breitz, Profile, 2017. Three single-channel videos (color, sound; durations variable). Promised gift of James and Audrey Foster. © Candice Breitz
Known primarily for her large-scale video installations, white South African-born artist Candice Breitz draws from Hollywood-style filmmaking to explore identity in moving-image works and popular culture. Commissioned for the South African Pavilion on the occasion of the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale, Profile (2017) features ten performers who directly address the viewer with a litany of statements that include descriptors of race, class, and gender, occupation, national belonging, and the recurring phrase “My name is Candice Breitz.” The narratives confuse the relationship between truth from fiction, as the viewer associates the statements with the speakers and attempts to organize and assign meaningful identification with each claim. Profile continues the artist’s incisive questions about race and representation, posing a critical interrogation of the possibility of conveying identity through an inherently fictitious medium, asking who can speak in the name of whom, and forcing the viewer to confront the disjunction between the artificiality of filmmaking and the perceived authenticity of film’s narratives.