Spiritual Still

Root Event

werkleitz Biennale 2006 Happy Believers
Spiritual Still
CO 2005

The face, scratched up beyond recognition, on always the same poster, belongs to one of the most successful idols in the world – the American singer Britney Spears. Millions of young people belong to her fan community, fascinated by the perfect self-presentations of the pop star. 
None of that is anymore visible in François Bucher’s Spiritual Still (2005). The more than 30 photographs, taken in the New York subway shortly after September 11, 2001, bear traces of a communal ‘spiritual’ awakening. The New Yorkers, who because of the events in their city are obviously no longer able to bear the glamorous and superficial self-presentation of the singer, attempt a collective protest. All imaginable forms of displeasure are directed with the quality of a secular iconoclasm against the idol who, unimpressed by everything, advertises her concert in Las Vegas. 
With the attack on the poster, the singer ironically undergoes almost a quasi-religious ‘reanimation’. Corresponding to her oscillation of staging herself as a whore and saint, these pictures of Britney Spears speak well-nigh of martyrdom. The singer seems to question the sufferings inflicted on her with a corresponding pop-pathos, but at the same time she seems to bear them stoically, as her song Girl in the Mirror reports: 

There’s a girl in the mirror 
I wonder who she is 
Sometimes I think I know her 
Sometimes I really wish I did 
There’s a story in her eyes 
Lullabies and goodbyes 
When she’s looking back at me 
I can tell her heart is broken easily

If I could 
I would tell her 
Not to be afraid 
The pain that she’s feeling 
That sense of loneliness will fade 
So dry your tears and rest assured 
Love will find you like before 
When she’s looking back at me 
I know nothing really works that easily

I can’t believe what I see 
No … 
oh the girl in my mirror 
The girl in my mirror is me 
Ohh … is me 

François Bucher, CO 2005, slide projection with sound