What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, the mantra of many a stag-do which has become such a cliche there’s even an Ashton Kucher/Cameron Diaz rom-com that plays on the theme in the title. But artist Candy Chang has breathed new life into this strange acceptance of suspended reality down on The Strip through her project Confessions.
You may know Candy from her ongoing Before I Die project (which came to London’s South Bank as part of the Festival of Death last year) whereby members of the public are invited to add their life goals, and the results range from the heartbreakingly intimate to the mildly idiotic. This summer she was artist in residence at The Cosmopolitan hotel in Sin City where she transformed its gallery space into a kind of group confessional.
Visitors entered curtained-off spaces similar to mind Catholic confession boxes and voting booths and admitted something secret on a piece of paper, which Candy then hung on anonymous wooden plaques and some became paintings too. Like the death project, it is interesting to see the breadth of subject matter people felt compelled to get off their chests, from “I eat too much cheese” to “I don’t know what I am doing and I’m running out of time…”
More than 1,500 people took part and Candy wanted the resulting display – inspired also by Shinto prayer walls and the Post Secret blog – to become: "a cathartic and voyeuristic sanctuary for this temporary community and help us see we are not alone in our quirks, experiences, and struggles as we try to lead fulfilling lives.
Seemingly even in this hedonistic haven, people can’t escape from themselves.