Can­dice Bre­itz renames video instal­la­tion at Nation­al Gallery of Vic­to­ri­a’s Tri­en­ni­al to protest against Australia’s treat­ment of refugees

Tim Stone
The Art Newspaper, 13 December 2017

South African artist is cam­paign­ing against gallery’s con­tract with Wil­son Secu­ri­ty and its involve­ment with coun­try’s off­shore deten­tion facilities

Just three days ahead of the open­ing of the Nation­al Gallery of Victoria’s inau­gur­al Tri­en­ni­al exhi­bi­tion, the South African artist Can­dice Bre­itz has renamed her video instal­la­tion LOVE STO­RY to WIL­SON MUST GO in response to the gallery’s con­tract with Wil­son Secu­ri­ty and alle­ga­tions of the firm’s treat­ment of refugees at Aus­trali­a’s off­shore deten­tion facilities.

In a mes­sage post­ed to her Face­book Page on Tues­day, Bre­itz took aim at the NGV’s secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor, Wil­son secu­ri­ty has vio­lent­ly enforced the impris­on­ment of refugees and peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum in Australia’s off­shore immi­gra­tion deten­tion cen­tres,” adding it would be moral­ly remiss [ … ] for me to remain silent in the con­text of the cur­rent con­ver­sa­tion that is tak­ing place around the Aus­tralian government’s ongo­ing and sys­tem­at­ic abuse of refugees.”

Breitz’s aware­ness of the NGV’s rela­tion­ship with Wil­son Secu­ri­ty came via the Artists’ Com­mit­tee, a Mel­bourne-based col­lec­tive that in recent months has heaped pres­sure on the NGV to sev­er their con­tract with Wil­son via a series of pub­lic actions includ­ing an open let­ter signed by 1,571 peo­ple demand­ing the gallery part ways with Wil­son. Accord­ing to the Aus­tralian Bor­der Deaths Data­base, to date eight men have died in off­shore deten­tion facil­i­ties man­aged by Wil­son Security.

Breitz’s name-change requires all NGV pub­li­ca­tions, pub­lic talks, wall text, cap­tions, mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als and com­mu­ni­ca­tions refer to the work as WIL­SON MUST GO until the gallery dumps Wil­son Secu­ri­ty. And Bre­itz has encour­aged oth­ers to fol­low suit, I invite oth­er Tri­en­ni­al artists who may share my dis­com­fort at hav­ing their works under the sur­veil­lance of Wil­son Secu­ri­ty, to tem­porar­i­ly rename their own works WIL­SON MUST GO.”

LOVE STO­RY is a sev­en-chan­nel video instal­la­tion co-com­mis­sioned by the NGV that con­trasts first-hand accounts of flee­ing from oppres­sion with per­for­mances by Alec Bald­win and Julianne Moore. The Tri­en­ni­al marks only the sec­ond pub­lic show­ing of LOVE STO­RY after its debut in May at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Pic­tured: Can­dice Bre­itz, Wil­son Must Go, 2016 (instal­la­tion view, Galerie KOW) Arti­cle link: here
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