Fotografiska Berlin, the new contemporary museum for photography, art and culture presents Whiteface, a solo exhibition by Candice Breitz as part of the opening during Berlin Art Week on 14 September 2023.
Fig. above: BAW23, Fotografiska, Candice Breitz, Whiteface (still) 2022
Candice Breitz has been one of the world’s most influential contemporary artists for some time. Over the past three decades, her work has explored the intersection of political and social forces with individual and collective identity. In recent years, her work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Tate Liverpool, among others, and has been included in the collections of renowned museums around the world, inspiring audiences and stimulating discourse across cultural boundaries.
Whiteface, the two-channel video installation presented by Fotografiska Berlin, is a powerful commentary on issues of race and representation. The work focuses sharply on how these issues resonate in our attention economy. Critically, Breitz holds up a mirror to whiteness and invites reflection on privileges that white people have taken for granted for far too long.
“At Fotografiska, we have always valued Candice Breitz for her ability to convey strong and urgent messages to her audience. As an institution that seeks to foreground relevant conversations and local artists, we feel her work, Whiteface, is highly relevant to today’s social discourse. Her work combines performance, image and language, in a clever and witty way, to bring to our attention the uncomfortable truths that exist in our society,” says Marina Paulenka, exhibition director of Fotografiska Berlin. “At the core of our work is about challenging established narratives and creating space for new perspectives. We strongly believe that fostering an inclusive and mindful community is crucial to achieving this goal. We are delighted to present Whiteface by Candice Breitz as one of our inaugural exhibitions in Berlin because it opens up precisely the kind of discourse that is important to us,” adds Yousef Hammoudah, Executive Director.
With Whiteface as the central installation, Breitz will also present seven single-channel videos from her White Mantras series, as well as a series of photographic portraits of the protagonists from Whiteface. All works will be on view from our grand opening on 14 September until 4 December 2023.
On 14 September, Fotografiska Berlin opens its doors at the start of Berlin Art Week with three inaugural exhibitions, all exploring aspects of visual culture in a socio-cultural context. Following Juliana Huxtable’s -USSYPHILIA and Whiteface by Candice Breitz, the third opening show will be announced in August. Fotografiska Berlin presents a series of changing exhibitions throughout the year, featuring established and emerging artists*.
Whiteface interweaves a variety of found-footage fragments that document how white people talk about race. Breitz draws on an extensive archive that includes the voices of prominent political figures, news anchors and talk show hosts, as well as those of lesser-known or anonymous YouTubers. The work thus covers white perspectives ranging from neo-Nazi ideologies and far-right propaganda to everyday racism and appearances as “good white people”. Dressed only in a white shirt and zombie contact lenses in her eyes, Breitz changes through a series of cheap blonde wigs throughout the work, including her own platinum blonde shock of hair. The artist’s appearance without a wig among the work’s protagonists highlights her own location in whiteness. Although Breitz and many of the disembodied voices she lip-syncs are recognisable in Whiteface, it is not primarily specific, individual whites who are the target of this biting satire. Rather, it is the condition of whiteness that Breitz wants to shine a light on.
Whiteface was commissioned by the Museum Folkwang and realised with the support of the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden.
About Candice Breitz
Candice Breitz (born 1972 in Johannesburg) is a Berlin-based artist whose video installations have been exhibited internationally. Throughout her artistic career, Breitz has explored the dynamics through which individuals are shaped in relation to a larger community, be it the immediate community of the family, or the real and imagined communities shaped not only by issues of national belonging, race, gender and religion, but also by the increasingly undeniable influence of mainstream media such as television, cinema and social media. More recently, Breitz’s work has focused on the conditions under which empathy emerges. In doing so, she reflects on a media-infused global culture in which strong identification with fictional characters and celebrities parallels widespread indifference to the plights of those facing adversity in the real world. In 2022, she completed the White Noise Trilogy, a series of video installations that includes Love Story (2016), TLDR (2017) and Whiteface (2022).
About Fotografiska Berlin
Fotografiska Berlin is the contemporary museum for photography, art and culture, founded in Stockholm. It is dedicated to presenting inspiring and innovative visual artworks. The museum promotes talented artists from diverse backgrounds, both locally and internationally, and creates a diverse and inclusive artistic community. Fotografiska Berlin’s programme includes curated exhibitions, events, concerts, workshops and lectures. Visitors will also find a bakery, bars and a restaurant on six floors. The museum is regularly open until 11pm to give visitors the opportunity to take advantage of what is on offer in their free time. The location of Fotografiska Berlin in covers an area of 5,500 square metres on Oranienburger Straße. Fotografiska Berlin is the fourth museum of the Fotografiska Group and follows the locations in Stockholm, Tallinn and New York. The museum contributes to the global art community through the presentation of outstanding artistic talent and an appreciation of historical context, offering an enriching experience for all visitors.
Oranienburger Straße 54
Opening: Thursday, 14.09.2023, from 7 pm – late
Exhibition period: Thursday, 14.09.2023 – Monday, 04.12.2023
Opening hours: Daily 10 am – 11 pm
Last admission to the museum is one hour before closing.