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The Power Plant will soon reveal the first major survey exhibition in North America of multimedia artist Candice Breitz, featuring a new series of works, commissioned by gallery,
with the support of Partners in Art.
From 19 September – 15 November, 2009.


Toronto, 25 August, 2009 – This fall The Power Plant gives over all of its gallery spaces to the work of a single artist, Candice Breitz, for her first North American survey exhibition, ‘Candice Breitz: Same Same.’ More, the exhibition comprises another major component – a new, significant commissioned series of works by the artist, shot in Toronto, and produced by The Power Plant, in tandem with the show. Curator of the exhibition and Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke says, “To have completed this project is a landmark, not only for the gallery but for Toronto. The new series of works marks a significant new development in Breitz’s work and reflects the cultural diversity of Toronto and its outstanding support of and leadership in the arts.” After its debut in Toronto, this project will be shown in major venues around the world.

South-African born, Berlin-based Candice Breitz is an internationally acclaimed artist whose works investigate contemporary media culture using the language of the entertainment industry, including pop music, television and Hollywood films. Whether sampling and re-editing Hollywood cinema featuring celebrity icons such as Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep and Cameron Diaz, or performances by fans of popular music legends like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Bob Marley, the exhibition is sure to gain popular appeal as Breitz reflects on the power of mass culture’s generic conventions and the engaged and passionate relationships between music and film stars and their fans.

Breitz has always explored how we fashion our identities through our cultural consumption, but when commissioned by The Power Plant, she wanted to return to working with non-actors to present a series of interview-based video diptychs within the context of the gallery’s exhibition – the themes of the performance of identity and the tension between what Breitz has referred to as “the scripted life” and one’s own self-fashioning. This major new series of works entitled Factum was shot in Toronto with local twins and one set of triplets as subjects. The twins discuss their life experiences and reflect on their twinness on-camera. Each individual was recorded in isolation from their twin, but when presented side-by-side one can see the dynamic between their identical appearances (the result of identical genetic codes) and their similar upbringings, and the distinct individuality they each still manage to develop despite these “scripts” of nature and nurture. Factum reflects on the relationship between the individual and the double. These critically engaging multi-channel video installations are not only technically accomplished but conceptually rich, bound to engage a wide range of audiences from different backgrounds, as the subjects, who were raised in Canada by immigrant families, share their intimate, diverse experiences.

Sure to be one of the highlights of this exhibition, the new commission was realized with the generous support of Toronto benefactors Partners in Art. The new work by Breitz marks the fifth installment of The Power Plant’s Commissioning Program, a major initiative that was launched in 2006. The long-term partnership with PIA has enabled The Power Plant to commission some of the best contemporary art today, and for that the gallery is extremely grateful. Says Gregory Burke “This is what both parties wanted to do – to realize major new commissions of both local and international relevance. I commend the foresight of Partners in Art and commend them for both their generosity and dedication to realizing the new commission by Candice Breitz.”

Helping to define the subject for Factum was Legend, the first work confirmed for the exhibition. Shot during a residency in Port Antonio, Jamaica, in early 2005, Legend (A Portrait of Bob Marley) came about after Breitz invited thirty Jamaicans to sing their version of Bob Marley’s album Legend in a recording studio. Each participant was invited to individually re-perform the entire Legend album from beginning to end. Audiences will not only be entertained but possibly moved to perform themselves as the chorus of thirty Bob Marley fans echoes throughout the gallery. Video recordings of dozens of Marley fans will be presented in harmony, revealing as much about Marley’s persona as the personal identities of his fans. Part of Breitz’s interest here, which ultimately extends to her new commission, is the different sets of identifications any local group of people may have within the global context of popular culture.

With Him Her, Breitz focuses solely on the celebrity icon. With a mesmerizing distillation of Hollywood cinema’s male and female archetypes – as animated by Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep – this two-room installation reveals Breitz’s ultimate concern for the identification processes that are both produced and enabled through popular cinema. Using footage from 23 Jack Nicholson films and 28 Meryl Streep films, she creates a complex and layered piece on multiple screens that extends between two gallery spaces – a surreal amalgam of competing inner voices. As Breitz has noted, “What could be more performative than having to constantly juggle and choreograph the competing internal voices that constitute one’s individuality?”

In her installation Becoming, Breitz slips awkwardly into the roles of seven popular Hollywood actresses (Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Meg Ryan, Neve Campbell, Reese Witherspoon, and Drew Barrymore). Having cut-and-pasted short sequences of these actresses out of various films (in the process isolating the actresses by eliminating the actors who appeared opposite them), Breitz re-enacts their performances as precisely as possible. The somewhat narrow range of familiar gestures and expressions available to the actresses (and thus to Breitz herself), points to the limits of media subjectivity, to the wooden vocabulary of being that is sold to us by Hollywood.

The Power Plant is proud to present this project, the first and largest survey of the artist’s work in North America. Moreover, the gallery is thrilled to support the artist’s most recent work, whose intention, as Gregory Burke explains, “was to produce a work that resonated in its international reach, yet was made particular by the specifics of the Canadian location of the shoot.” ‘Candice Breitz: Same Same’ is an outstanding contribution to the City of Toronto and the art world abroad.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue featuring texts by curator Gregory Burke, Anne M. Wagner, Claire Gilman and Jon Davies.

The Power Plant is very thankful for the extraordinary support of our commissioning partner Partners in Art. The exhibition is also supported by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Support Donor Elisa Nuyten & David Dime and Catalogue Donors Sarah Dinnick and Colin Webster. The exhibition is presented in association with Future Projections, programme of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Associated Events

Press Preview
Friday, 18 September, 10 AM
The Power Plant invites all members of the press to an exclusive preview of the exhibition in advance of the opening. Artist Candice Breitz and the curator of the exhibition, Director of The Power Plant Gregory Burke, will all be available for interview.

Exhibition Opening Party
Friday, 18 September, 8 – 11 PM

In Conversation: Candice Breitz and Lynn Crosbie
Saturday, 19 September, 6 PM, $4 Members, $6 Non-Members
Lynn Crosbie is a cultural critic and poet who teaches at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Attend this special event when Crosbie will talk one-on-one with Breitz about her work and related issues in contemporary culture. Call the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416.973.4000 to purchase tickets.

A further release will be issued shortly with full info on The Power Plant’s wonderful and diverse range of public programming scheduled for this fall.

The Power Plant is pleased to continue to offer free gallery admission from 5 to 8 PM on Wednesdays.

‘Candice Breitz: Same Same’ Background

Candice Breitz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1972 and is currently based in Berlin. She has been a Professor of Fine Art at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig since 2007.

In recent years solo exhibitions of her work have been hosted by the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Newcastle), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), De Appel (Amsterdam), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Castello di Rivoli (Turin), Collection Lambert (Avignon), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebæk), White Cube (London), and Bawag Foundation (Vienna). During 2009, she will present solo exhibitions of her work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Power Plant (Toronto) and Yvon Lambert (NYC).

Breitz has participated in Biennales in Johannesburg (1997), São Paulo (1998), Istanbul (1999), Taipei (2000), Kwangju (2000), Tirana (2001), Venice (2005) and New Orleans (2008). Selected group exhibitions include New Frontier (Sundance Film Festival, 2009), The Cinema Effect (Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden, 2008), Made in Germany (Kunstverein Hannover, 2007), Superstars (Kunsthalle Wien, 2005) and Remix: Contemporary Art and Pop (Tate Liverpool, 2002).


For more information on exhibitions and all public programs, call 416-973-4949 or visit

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre
231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

FREE Members
$6 Adults
$3 Students / Seniors
FREE Wednesdays from 5 – 8 PM

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12 – 6 PM
Wednesday 12 – 8 PM
Open Holiday Mondays


Media Contact:

Robin Boyko
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
The Power Plant
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