LEGEND (A Portrait of Bob Marley), 2005

Installation view: The Ecologies of Peace. Works from the TBA21 Collection, Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía C3A, Córdoba, Spain, 2024
Photo: Imagen Subliminal (Rocio Romero y Miguel de Guzmán)

30-channel video installation on monitors (color, sound), wooden TV-rack
62 min 40 sec (videos)
318 x 485 x 58 cm (rack)
Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

LEGEND (A Portrait of Bob Marley), is one of the first commissions by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. Candice Breitz’s 30-channel installation explores the contrasts between the Bob Marley who has become a brand name outside of Jamaica, and the Bob Marley, who was reverently described to her by Jamaicans on her first visit to the island.
LEGEND was shot during Breitz’s residency in Port Antonio, Jamaica, in early 2005. The work was presented at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica—formerly Marley’s home and Tuff Gong recording studio— in December of the same year, the year that the musician would have turned sixty.

The 30-channel installation captures the different attitudes and idiosyncratic performances of Marley fans, allowing Breitz to continue her investigation of the musical interplay of separate videotaped vocalizations, through the watershed Bob Marley album Legend. Released in 1984 as a greatest hits package, Legend is the biggest-selling reggae album of all time. The 30 actors specifically cast for this work, represent a differentiated portrait of the contemporary phenomenon of celebrity admiration and appropriation. Furthermore, Breitz addresses the socio-cultural importance of Marley’s music to Jamaicans, the conviction of the singers as their voices come together in unison is complete and viewers are reminded that although Jamaica may still be waiting for a better day, its people understand implicitly that collectivity has always been their greatest strength. LEGEND is the first in a series of "portraits" of the music that forms the soundtrack of our generation. The other installations are dedicated to Madonna (Queen), Michael Jackson (King) and John Lennon.

*1972 in Johannesburg, South Africa | Living and working in Berlin, Germany
Candice Breitz is best known for her moving image installations. Throughout her career, she has explored the dynamics by means of which an individual becomes him or herself in relation to a larger community, be that community the immediate community that one encounters in family, or the real and imagined communities that are shaped not only by questions of national belonging, race, gender and religion, but also by the increasingly undeniable influence of mainstream media such as television, cinema and popular culture. She won a 2007 Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize, was selected to represent South Africa at the Venice Biennale 2017 and since 2007 she has been a tenured professor at the Braunschweig University of Art in Berlin. 

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LEGEND (A Portait of Bob Marley), 2005
Provided by Candice Breitz