Candice Breitz (B. 1972)
Candice Breitz (B. 1972)

Double Olivia (Hopelessly Devoted To You)

Candice Breitz (B. 1972)
Double Olivia (Hopelessly Devoted To You)
DVD, in two parts
(i) 0 minutes 6 seconds
(ii) 0 minutes 29 seconds
Executed in 1977-2000, this work is number two from an edition of two plus one artist's proof
Galleria Continua, San Gimignano.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2001.
New York, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Candice Breitz, 2000.
Munich, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Candice Breitz, 2000.
Taipei, Taipei Biennale 2000, The Sky is the Limit!, 2000.
Linz, O.K Center for Contemporary Art Upper Austria, Candice Breitz Cuttings, 2001, p. 172 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, p. 141).
Cologne, Galerie Johnen & Schöttle, Candice Breitz, 2001.
Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien, Tele[Visions], 2001.
San Gimignano, Galleria Continua, Post-Production, 2001.
Liverpool, Tate Liverpool, Remix: Contemporary Art and Pop, 2002.
Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, Continuity + Transgression, 2002. This exhibition later travelled to Osaka, National Museum of Art Osaka.
Oxford, Modern Art Oxford, Candice Breitz: Re-Animations, 2003, p. 42 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, pp. 28-29).
Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery, Video Hits, 2004.
Leon, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Candice Breitz: Exposición Múltiple / Multiple Exposure, 2007, pp. 232-233 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated in colour, pp. 84-85).
Monaco, Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco, Mother + Father / Monuments, 2007 (illustrated, unpaged).
Milan, Galleria Francesca Kaufmann, The Rustle of Language, 2009.
Toronto, The Power Plant, Candice Breitz: Same Same, 2009 (illustrated, unpaged).
Begrenz, Kunsthaus Begrenz, Candice Breitz: The Scripted Life, 2010 (illustrated, unpaged).
Maastricht, Viewmaster Foundation, Paraphrasing Babel, 2012.

Lot Essay

Double Olivia (Hopelessly Devoted To You) belongs to the celebrated series Four Duets by South African video artist Candice Breitz. Based on the eponymous ballad scene from Grease, Olivia Newton John – playing the female lead Sandy – is cut and spliced into a stuttering, cyclical duet with herself. Her image is projected simultaneously onto two television monitors: in one, she repeats only the words ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘I’ on a six-second loop, whilst in the other she repeats the word ‘you’ on a twenty-nine second loop. Temporal dislocation is the primary subject of the work: set in 1959, filmed in 1977 and ruthlessly re-edited by Breitz in 2000, one of the most iconic musicals of the twentieth century is compressed into a staccato stream of short-circuited nonsense, retaining only the basic pronouns of its mournful love song. The other works from the series – Double Karen (Close To You), Double Annie (Thorn In My Side) and Double Whitney (I Will Always Love You) – follow a similar pattern, transforming legendary pop tunes into uncanny pieces of abstraction, doubled and divided into tiny structural fragments. Works from the edition of Double Olivia have been included in Breitz’s solo exhibitions at Modern Art Oxford in 2003, and at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León in 2007.
Despite the strains of humour latent in Breitz’s unrelenting edit, Double Olivia also invites deeper consideration of the relationship between musical star and anonymous fan. As Christopher Phillips has written, ‘The double-channel installations invite both the identification and the projection of the viewer. Listening to a pop hit, “you” can imaginatively assume the role of the “I” of the singer and indulge in a vicarious taste of celebrity power. “You” might on the other hand experience yourself as the privileged object of the singer’s personal address, the very “you” toward whom she intimately gazes. Breitz gives a critical twist to these imaginary relations. As the singers address themselves on the paired television monitors, “I” and “you” suddenly collide. By virtue of this staging, the process of identification and projection is short-circuited, as the singer confronts her own uncanny double’ (C. Phillips, ‘Candice Breitz: Four Installations in Candice Breitz: CUTTINGS, exh. cat., O. K. Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, 2001). It is this process – the strategic collapse of the boundary between self and other, the familiar and the strange – that forms the conceptual backbone of Breitz’s practice.

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