A Portrait of John Lennon

working-class-hero3.jpgAs a contemporary take on the portrait genre, Candice Breitz’ new video installation Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) is grand. On the pressing recommendation of a friend, I rushed to the downstairs room of the White Cube Mason’s Yard yesterday to see it. A black velvet curtain opened as I walked through the door. Darkness greeted me, rather shockingly, instead of the usual shiny, blinding white room. 25 screens were placed on one of the main walls, each showing a close-up face singing his or her head off. The singers appeared to be all hardened fans of John Lennon and proved it gloriously by singing, karaoke-style, his whole 40 minutes album Plastic Ono Band. The result of their a cappella sing-song was to be quite memorable. It was not so much their false notes and awkward performance that got stuck in my memory. It was the scary intensity of their expressions, their lit-up eyes, the projection of their voice and their hands that struck me, and which rendered them so wholeheartedly, helplessly human. In their love for one man, they were singing one chord, one word, one soul, united beyond class, gender and race. Working Class Hero is one of the best portraits of Lennon I have come across.



~ by lavivette on August 15, 2007.

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