press release

STUK presents Candice Breitz's New York, New York, a multi-channel video installation that grows out of and includes documentation of Breitz's first foray into directing live theatrical performance. The work was originally commissioned in the context of Performa 09.

Four pairs of identical twins were each invited to develop a character of their choice over the course of a daylong workshop recorded on camera, in preparation for bringing these characters to life on stage. The characters emerging from these lengthy sessions were then abandoned to improvisation on stage in a two-act play performed before a live audience in New York City on 12 November 2009. For the live performance, the cast of eight was split into two identical casts of four (each cast of four actors was composed of all four characters). Each pair of siblings was asked to appear as identical to one another as possible on stage, in keeping with their shared character. Twin siblings did not appear together on stage at any point.

Presumed similarities between identical twins are harnessed here as a starting point for proliferating inventions and the always involuntary staging of difference, as it is generated by the inevitable slippage between each pair of siblings. Audience members are invited to negotiate this unsettling dynamic as they reflect upon the continuities and discontinuities between the two performances. New York, New York shifts the probing of sameness and difference that has been central to Breitz's video-based work into the space of live performance, bringing her interest in what she has called 'the scripted life' together with an ongoing reflection on the fragile condition of individuality. While the first part is comprised of four short films that document each of the four character development sessions, the second part of the installation consists of two projections that are experienced parallel to one another, evoking stereoscopic vision as they document each of the separate casts responding to the improvisational challenge of taking their characters live on stage.

South African artist Candice Breitz (b. Johannesburg, 1972, lives and works in Berlin) has gained international renown for her video installations. At times composed of intricate re-edits of existing footage, at times shot from scratch, her multi-channel video installations reflect on the competing roles that external factors such as family and the media play in the formation of selfhood, exploring the complex relationship between lives lived on and off-screen, and dissecting the web of identifications that make fans and their idols co-dependent. Her work has been shown at museums such as De Appel Foundation (Amsterdam), Castello di Rivoli (Turin), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria) and The Power Plant (Toronto).

Candice Breitz's New York, New York runs parallell to STUK's Playground Festival (4-12 November) focusing on visual art and performance. More information available soon at:

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Candice Breitz
New York, New York