In 1973 Marlon Brando was awarded an Oscar for The Godfather, which he refused. In his place he sent Sacheen Littlefeather to read a statement of protest against the way Native Americans are portrayed by Hollywood. The audio used in The Reveal (2012), the video work at the center of this project, comes from an interview Brando gave soon after on the Dick Cavett Show. For the majority of the interview, Brando steadfastly refuses to answer any questions related to his private life, movies or acting. Finally Cavett asks, “Why do you downgrade acting?” In the interplay that unfolds, Brando gives in to his question, describing acting as a “survival mechanism” and claiming that people act all the time, exactly the same as he acts on screen, and calling out the role Cavett is playing right there, right then. By refusing to play the part of “a famous actor” Brando insists on a kind of authentic interchange, exposing the gulf between Cavett’s private and public persona.
In associated paintings on found film stills, I was thinking about both the "reality" of image and the ideas about identity construct. Mondrian said in Art and Reality "Art is higher than reality, and has no direct relation to reality. Between the physical sphere and the ethereal sphere there is a frontier where our senses stop functioning." In the same way that lipsynching can confuse the senses and allow a more absolute meaning to emerge, juxtaposing abstraction with image points to an alternative perception of physical/spiritual/emotional expression.