Skip to main content

Genesis & Lady Jaye Breyer P Orridge – Life As A Cheap Suitcase (Pandrogeny and A Search For A Unified Identity) - Summerhall, Edinburgh

August 1st-September 26th

It's almost forty years since Scottish Conservative MP  Nicholas
Fairburn declared those behind COUM Transmissions' Prostitution show at
the ICA in 1976 to be 'wreckers of civilisation'. The artist then known
as Genesis P Orridge, who was the driving force of the artistic
collective that morphed into Throbbing Gristle, still has the power to
provoke, however, as this centrepiece of Summerhall's current
exhibitions programme makes clear.

Life As A Cheap Suitcase (Pandrogeny and A Search For A Unified
Identity) charts the love affair between P Orridge and Lady Jaye
Breyer, who met in 1993 and married two years later on Friday 13th.
Over the next twelve years, before Lady Jaye tragically 'dropped her
body' in 2007, the couple became a living artwork as they attempted to
merge their identities and bodies into a third unified being by way of
cosmetic surgery and body modification. This included having matching
breast implants on Valentine's Day 2003, requesting that they be
referred to as s/he, and wearing matching clothes, hair and make-up.

This first UK solo exhibition since 2003 will feature a series of
collages and paintings by Breyer P Orridge that feature explicit images
of the couple's ever converging bodies, as well as religious
iconography, mirrored patterns and Britain's Royal family who represent
the establishment-based antithesis to Breyer P Orridge's fearlessly
taboo-busting and touchingly frank display. If Breyer P Orridge's
previous work, from early mail art through to COUM, Throbbing Gristle,
Psychic TV and beyond has sought to point up and counter the ugliness
and hypocricy at the heart of society, the images receiving their first
European viewing in Life As A Cheap Suitcase suggest the most intimate
form of revolution.

Breyer P Orridge's show is one of some nineteen exhibitions occupying
the former Royal Dick Veterinary School turned international
avant-garde arts centre that Summerhall has become. These include new
soundworks by Susan Hiller, paintings by the late Caroline McNairn
drawn from work made during a year in Russia in the mid 1990s as part
of a cultural exchange between Scotland and the former USSR
co-organised by former director of the 369 Gallery, Andrew Brown, and
Bosnian war paintings by Peter Howson in a programme that puts the body
politic centre stage.

Scottish Art News - August 2014


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …

Kraftwerk

Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Four stars

A flying saucer orbits over Edinburgh Castle before landing outside the Usher Hall. That's the story anyway according to the animated visuals for this 3D extravaganza from the original electronic boy band. Whether the alien craft is responsible for depositing the over-excited stage invader who briefly manages to jump aboard mid-set isn't on record. The four men of a certain age lined up hunched over fairy-lit consoles and sporting LED laced Lycra outfits as they pump out their hugely influential back-catalogue of retro-futuristic electro-pop remain oblivious.

There is nevertheless a sublime display of humanity on display. The quartet of Ralf Hutter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert and Falk Grieffenhagen lend a surprising warmth to compositions given fresh pulse by the state of art visual display. While the band stand stock still at what appears to be a set of old-school keyboards, sound and vision are in perpetual motion. This is the case whethe…