Can­dice Breitz
Can­dice Bre­itz: I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen)

31st August – 6th December 2020
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen) 2017 is arguably the most ambi­tious mul­ti-chan­nel video por­trait by acclaimed South African artist Can­dice Bre­itz. It was orig­i­nal­ly com­mis­sioned by Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain in Mon­tréal, Leonard Cohen’s home­town for an exhi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing his life and work.

Leonard Cohen who was known as a poet as much as a musi­cian died at age 82 on 11 Novem­ber 2016. He is known as the writer of quin­tes­sen­tial bal­lads, Hal­lelu­jah’, Suzanne’ and Bird on a Wire’, with a career span­ning from the 1960s until lit­er­al­ly his last moment. Upon his death, the city of Mon­tréal reclaimed him as some­thing of a civic saint. Breitz’s spec­tac­u­lar and high­ly per­son­al video por­trait brings togeth­er a com­mu­ni­ty of ardent Leonard Cohen fans from his home­town, each of whom has cher­ished Cohen’s music for over half a cen­tu­ry, to pay posthu­mous trib­ute to the late legend.

The work expands Breitz’s ongo­ing anthro­pol­o­gy of the fan. Although these mul­ti-chan­nel por­traits mim­ic the flow and dura­tion of the orig­i­nal albums that they take as their tem­plates, they specif­i­cal­ly exclude the aurat­ic voic­es and famil­iar musi­cal arrange­ments of the orig­i­nal albums, such that the musi­cal icon ulti­mate­ly remains present only through the a cap­pel­la voic­es of a devout ama­teur collective.

Ear­li­er works in this series have includ­ed Leg­end (A Por­trait of Bob Mar­ley), shot in Jamaica in 2005; King (A Por­trait of Michael Jack­son) and Queen (A Por­trait of Madon­na), shot respec­tive­ly in Berlin and Milan dur­ing 2005; and Work­ing Class Hero (A Por­trait of John Lennon), shot in New­cas­tle in 2006.

The pre­sen­ta­tion of I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen) will be fol­lowed by pre­sen­ta­tions of two oth­er key works by inter­na­tion­al­ly acclaimed video artists recent­ly acquired by Auck­land Art Gallery: Angel­i­ca Mesiti’s Moth­er Tongue, 19 Decem­ber 20207 Feb­ru­ary 2021 and Julian Rosefeldt’s, My Home is a Dark and Cloud-Hung Land, 20 Feb­ru­ary – 11 April 2021.

Curat­ed by Natasha Conland

Images

Can­dice Breitz

I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen), 2017
19-chan­nel instal­la­tion: 19 hard drives
40 min­utes 43 seconds
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley
Com­mis­sioned by the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Montréal

Can­dice Breitz

I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen), 2017
19-chan­nel instal­la­tion: 19 hard drives
40 min­utes 43 seconds
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley
Com­mis­sioned by the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Montréal

Can­dice Breitz

I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen), 2017
(stills) 19-chan­nel instal­la­tion: 19 hard drives
40 min­utes 43 seconds
Com­mis­sioned by the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Montréal

Can­dice Breitz

I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen), 2017
19-chan­nel instal­la­tion: 19 hard drives
40 min­utes 43 seconds
instal­la­tion view Phi Cen­tre, Montréal
Com­mis­sioned by the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Montréal

Can­dice Breitz

I’m Your Man (A Por­trait of Leonard Cohen), 2017
19-chan­nel instal­la­tion: 19 hard drives
40 min­utes 43 seconds
instal­la­tion view Phi Cen­tre, Montréal
Com­mis­sioned by the Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Montréal