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‘Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon)’ by Candic...

‘Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon)’ by Candice Breitz

Focusing on the fans instead of the icon, South African artist Candice Breitz brings her compelling audio/visual experience to Sydney, in ‘Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon)’. By Nicholas Sherwood.

After putting Michael Jackson and Madonna through a similar treatment, Candice Breitz, a South African born audio/visual artist, has turned her focus to former Beatle, John Lennon. Obsessed with the fans of these pop icons more so than the icons themselves, Breitz has created a sensory experience for viewers –  25 dedicated fans are filmed simultaneously singing the complete track list to Lennon’s lesser-known work, Plastic Ono Band.


Breitz believes that “a piece of music is never that interesting until it starts to have meaning for a particular individual, until it starts to become organically woven into a particular life.” It’s an interesting way to look at things, and flips the generally accepted view on its head. Taking the attention away from the star and onto the dedicated followers, these are the “people on the other side of the equation, those people who listen to the music, who go to the movies. The people who create an icon like Lennon.”


Her installation is a recording of 25 extremely dedicated fans who’ve sung on film the complete 39 minutes and 55 seconds of Plastic Ono Band, with songs like ‘Mother’ which, compared to his chart topping, uplifting tunes, are some of his more melancholy tracks. After advertising the project in various newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, over 900 fans from Nigeria to Argentina replied. Once 25 of the most dedicated had been selected, Breitz sent them unbiasedly into the recording studio.

Her work has been shown in such renowned spaces as the Palais de Tokyo and the New Museum in New York, and now this video installation piece lands in Sydney on the 27th of July, at the Anna Schwartz Gallery, running until the 28th of September.

Anna Schwartz Gallery

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