Wednesday, March 5, 2008
The Act of Mimesis
Explicit performative. Those two words I believe define and give color to the work of South African born/Berlin based artist Candice Breitz. What do those two words mean? Well, if we take a "look" at Judith Butler's "Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex", we might be able to take a peek at the "Explicit". Normatively, the word "Explicit" can refer to sex. But is there anything explicit in Candice Breitz's work? Conventionally, the answer is no. It is also easy to see that Breitz's work operates as "stylized bodily acts", they are performed. Here we can bring Judith Butler back into the thick of things and see that " these stylised bodily acts, in their repetition, establish the appearance of an essential, ontological "core" gender." Her choice of styling and wardrobe make impressions on our reading of "Sex" in normative ways, while still being subversive. Thus the production of identity and our ability to "identify" a representation is always already deferred, and here I'm thinking of the late Jacques Derrida.
Breitz work is poppy, humorous, because it introduces icons of femininity, while simultaneously bringing to the foreground distancing techniques like the theatrical, or more accurately pathos.