• Candice Breitz Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) Installation view at BALTIC

    Colin Davison

    © BALTIC/the artist

  • Candice Breitz Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) Installation view at BALTIC

    Colin Davison

    © BALTIC/the artist

Candice Breitz

Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon)

10 October 2006 - 27 January 2007

During a recent residency at BALTIC, artist Candice Breitz invited a diverse community of dedicated John Lennon fans to pay tribute to their hero in a recording studio in Newcastle upon Tyne. Each fan was given the opportunity to re-perform Lennon’s first solo album Plastic Ono Band (1970), from beginning to end.

The resulting video installation, with a looping duration of 39 minutes and 55 seconds (matching the length of the original album), will be displayed on 25 plasma screens that are staggered spirally around BALTIC’s seven-story-high public stairway. Each 42” plasma screen is dedicated to one fan’s idiosyncratic re-performance of the howling and cathartic songs on Plastic Ono Band, an album that explores the traumas of Lennon’s childhood (isolation, abandonment and death), and which was made parallel to Lennon and Yoko Ono undergoing intense Primal Therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov.

Additional Information

The Lennon fans were recruited from far and wide to participate in the project, the sole criteria for their eventual inclusion being that each was required to answer a detailed questionnaire to prove their sincere devotion to Lennon and his music. Over 400 fans from as far a field as Mexico City, Moscow and Tokyo expressed an interest in taking part in the project. Out of the 40 who were invited to Newcastle to pay homage to Lennon, 25 fans are featured in the final installation. They range in age from 25 to 62, and in addition to 8 Geordies and 5 Liverpudlians, include participants from Wales, Scotland, Japan, Italy and the United States.

Working Class Hero is the fourth in a series of portraits of musical icons by Breitz (preceded by portraits of Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Madonna). Collectively, the portraits are an ongoing survey of the culture of the fan and the delicate mechanisms of projection, identification and consumption that characterise the relationship between an icon and his/her community of fans.


Click here to view all Library and Archive entries for Candice Breitz.

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