For the last 15 years, Candice Breitz has conducted a constant and consistent investigation into language, by turning a sharp eye on racial and gender related issues. Pop culture acts as the raw material with which she forges her art, which shines a light on stereotypes and prejudices. In 1994, after her studies at the Johannesburg National School of the Arts, she received a Master’s degree in art history and theory of art from the University of Chicago, followed by a PhD from Columbia University in the city of New York, before relocating to Berlin. Her entry in to the contemporary art world took place through photography in the first half of the 1990s. By manually retouching the photographic image, she discovered and developed a method which, pushed even further, she would also put to use in her video installations starting in 1999. Her practice involves tampering with photographs with deliberately basic tools, such as Scotch tape, scissors, etc. Thus, in her iconic Ghost Series (1994-1996), she whitens the silhouettes of African women with correction fluid in order to condemn their submission to a foreign gaze. In the Rainbow Series (1996) photomontages, by combining the bodies of black African women that appear in ethnographic books with the limbs of white American actresses from pornographic magazines, she creates a parallel between pornographic voyeurism and ethnographic voyeurism. These series bring about a fierce debate in a context where the South African art of the post-apartheid years is gradually becoming recognized. In South Africa, the videocassette recorder (VCR) appears in the 1970s, nearly at the same time as television, long prohibited by the government. The artist uses these two devices, which are for her symbols of freedom and discovery, to rework the image, re-edit films, recompose music and photographs. In her video installations, the “cut-and-paste” method that she’d previously developed for her photos is now applied to works originating from mass culture in a display of “appropriation strategy” and analytical intention. Babel Series (1999), her first exhibited installation, consists of videos by pop artists such as Madonna*, Prince, and Freddie Mercury, projected on seven suspended screens. The clips are restricted to a single syllable from each song, as if the record was scratched. In Karaoke (2000), ten amateur singers of different nationalities living in New York sing Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel’s hit Killing me Softly. Despite the language and cultural differences, the faces reveal a series of common expressions that smooth out the different identities and exposes the influential power of mass culture. Other works produce a critical analysis of American blockbusters. In Soliloquy Trilogy (2000), Paul Verhoeven’s movie Basic Instinct is re-edited to only contain Sharon Stone’s* performance. Consisting of seven diptychs, Becoming (2003) is the first time the artist features her own self. On a monitor, short sequences from Hollywood movies are performed by famous actresses; on the other, she mimes their performance in black and white. Breitz has participated in the Taipei, Istanbul, and Venice Biennales, and her work has been shown in numerous contemporary art centres and galleries around the world.