The South African artist Candice Breitz primarily works with photographs and videos, manipulated and assembled into new narrative structures that often include the installation form. The images are taken from magazines, music videos, movies and other sources from the world of entertainment. Since the 1990s, Breitz’s works have addressed the concepts of identity, racial or gender belonging and their mediation in contemporary and globalized culture. "Becoming Meg" is one of seven video installations in the series "Becoming", in which the artist interprets some famous actresses in scenes from very popular movies: Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Neve Campbell, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore and, in this case, Meg Ryan, representative icons of the classic clichéd female roles so widely popularized and propagated by the Hollywood industry.
The idea, developed by Breitz in 2003 during an artist-in-residence stay at IASPIS (International Artists Studio Program in Sweden) in Stockholm, recalls the eponymous television format broadcast by MTV a few years earlier, when kids tried to imitate their show business and cinema idols. The work consists of two complementary videos: one replicates a scene from the film You’ve Got Mail (1998), in which Meg Ryan plays the part of Kathleen Kelly, romantic bookseller and dreamer; in another video, in black and white, the artist herself imitates Ryan and in the end, is indistinguishable from the original.