South African Candice Breitz is one of the strongest voices in contemporary art right now. Her highly topical, thought-provoking video installation Love Story was one of the most talked-about works at the Venice Biennale in 2017. With support from the New Carlsberg Foundation it is now to become a new highlight of the ARKEN
What stories do we choose to listen to? Do we allow ourselves to be affected by tear-jerking performances by actors while the sufferings of real people leave us cold? In Love Story Candice Breitz raises issues of empathy and solidarity. The work is based on six people's personal stories of fleeing from their home countries. The large video installation is shown in two rooms: first the audience see the two American actors Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin in a fast-paced montage set up in cinema format, in which they talk about fleeing from violence, injustice, war and persecution. As the audience we feel with the two well known actors, even though they fall in and out of their roles and the stories are obviously not their own.
Personal stories of flight
In an adjacent room six refugees trustingly share their heart-rending personal stories, each in their own video interview. Sarah Ezzat Mardini is one of the refugees who give us intimate insights into their lives. She is a war refugee from Syria, and the other five have escaped from oppression and violence in other parts of the world. José Maria João is a former child-soldier from Angola, Mamy Maloba Langa fled from rape and torture in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Shabeena Francis Saveri is a transgender activist from India who is now seeking political asylum in the USA. Luis Ernesto Nava Molero is a political refugee from Venezuela, and Farah Abdi Mohamed is a young atheist from Somalia fleeing from Islamic extremism.
The faceless and the famous
Love Story turns the spotlight on the way popular culture and populism easily displace the uncomfortable truth about the humanitarian catastrophes that typify our picture of the world and affect millions of human lives. Candice Breitz confronts the public with powerful questions. When does a story become real and relevant? Are there limits to solidarity? Breitz' installation is both moving and shocking, because it points to the psychological mechanisms that are activated when a story is told either by a famous actor or by an unknown refugee. In Breitz' love story you are entertained, complicit and a co-conspirator all at the same time.
The new work in the collection can already be experienced at ARKEN from 10 March until 9 September 2018. Love Story has been acquired for the museum's collection with support from the New Carlsberg Foundation.