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