S/HE IS (STILL) HER/E
ONE TRUE TOPI TRIBE
R.I.P. “BIG BOY” BREYER P-ORRIDGE
4pm Friday 14th May 2010
BREYER P-ORRIDGE | Pandrogyne Cube
Special edition shifting photo sculpture.
4 x 4 inches, ed. of 300
$123 + shipping and handling BUY HERE!
The cultural engineer Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE is an avant-garde anti-hero whose remarkable body of underground work reminds us that when you believe something, artistic integrity demands that you live by it too. In 2007 h/er partner Lady Jaye BREYER dropped h/er body. Since that time Genesis continues to represent the amalgam BREYER P-ORRIDGE in the material “world” and Lady Jaye represents the amalgam BREYER P-ORRIDGE in the immaterial “world” creating an ongoing interdimensional collaboration. Their work documents the physical alterations s/he and the late Lady Jaye, endured within their project Pandrogeny, about re-union and re-solution of male and female to a perfecting hermaphroditic state. Genesis is one of the most rigorous and relentless agents of the postwar Anglo-American vanguard, interrogating the meaning and substance of identity in a peerless half-century program of willful reincarnation and shape-shifting. Embracing the body as not simply the vessel but the site of the avant-garde impulse, BREYER P-ORRIDGE has reinvented and reintroduced h/erself again and again—as Fluxus pioneer, groundbreaking performance artist, inventor of industrial music, "wrecker of civilization," essayist and theoretician, and, most recently, as pandrogyne.
In the June 1969 Genesis founded COUM Transmissions, a confrontational performance collective heavily influenced by Dada, and h/er sojourn in David Medalla’s “Exploding Galaxy” kinetic theatre commune in London. By the time COUM disbanded in 1976, it had become the forefront of performance and Action art, pushing the boundaries, and shattering the definitions, of contemporary art, and paving the way for many later transgressive art movements. The culmination of COUM was the 1976 “Prostitution” exhibition at the ICA in London, which featured a stripper, used Tampax encased in glass and transvestite guards; the show caused such a commotion that the British Parliament sought to rethink governmental public art funding, and labeled Genesis and h/er collaborators as “Wreckers of Civilization”, documented in the book of the same name by Simon Ford, curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. On 3rd September 1975 COUM officially transformed into the group Throbbing Gristle and in a conversation with artist Monte Cazazza named their music “Industrial Music” releasing a totally new genre of modern music into popular culture. An early example of Genesis’ strategy of “CULTURAL ENGINEERING”.
In the early 1970s, Genesis met William S. Burroughs and was introduced through him to Brion Gysin, marking the beginning of a seminal and influential collaborative relationship; under Gysin’s tutelage, Burroughs had repopularized the “cut-up” technique of the early 20th century Surrealists, in which text, or narrative imagery, is cut up and randomly re-organized creating a new, non-linear formulation. Riveted by the work of both, Genesis would take the logic of the cut-up to its inevitable apotheosis, applying the post-Surrealist mania to material not just external but also internal.
In the 1990s, Genesis began a collaboration with the performance artist, Lady Jaye Breyer. Inspired by the language of true love and frustrated by what they felt to be imposed limits on personal and expressive identity, Genesis and Lady Jaye applied the “cut-up” to their own bodies in an effort to merge their two identities, through plastic surgery, hormone therapy, cross-dressing and altered behavior, into a single, "pandrogynous" character, "BREYER P-ORRIDGE." This project focused on one central concern—deconstructing the fiction of self. They embraced a painterly, gestural approach to their own bodies, making expressive and startling use of signifiers like eyebrows, lips, and breasts, in an effort to resemble one another as much as possible. The work was an exercise in truly elective, truly creative identity, and a test of how fully two people could integrate their own lives, bodies, and consciousnesses.
One phase of this collaborative project ended, tragically, when Lady Jaye passed away in 2007. But Genesis has diligently continued to work on their shared pandrogynous mission, and in the intervening years has produced a remarkable collection of work that testifies with astounding power to h/er devotion to this radical project and to h/er late wife, and that is a powerful reminder of what real artistic commitment truly means.