Posted: September 21st, 2009 | Author: Adeline Wessang | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: Genesis P-Orridge, Invisible Exports, Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle | No Comments »
‘Destroy all stereotypes‘
Who is Genesis P-Orridge?
“Pushing the boundaries” could have been his motto. Artist, musician, performer and writer, born Neil Andrew Megson in Manchester, England in 1950.
He attended a private school where he immersed himself in literature, discovering the beatniks, Surrealism and particularly Dada. Then he studied Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Hull. It was during these years that the character of Genesis P-Orridge appeared. He released his first pressed recording Early Worm in 1968 under the name Genesis P-Orridge.
E Crazy Genius, 1977, letter, Crane/Friedman Correspondence Art Collection
In the late 60s and early 70s he was involved with COUM Transmissions, a performance art group heavily influenced by Dada. Their actions were overly sexually based, dealing with taboos and transgressions. It often included masturbation and having sex. The other major figure was Cosey Fanni Tutti, stripper and model for pornographic films. She incorporated her own image into collages she made in this period, investigating self-image.
In 1971, Genesis was already corresponding with Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs, who introduced him to artist Brion Gysin. Burroughs and Gysin had worked out the cut-up method which consists of cutting up and reassembling various fragments of sentences to give them a completely new and unexpected meaning. The cut-up has been a major influence for Genesis P-Orridge who has tried to deconstruct and reconstruct his own character, according to the cut-up method.
At some point, Genesis wanted to introduce sound in the performances and COUM morphed into Throbbing Gristle around 1975.
Throbbing Gristle, 1980, London, UK (photo: Industrial Records Ltd.)
The four members wanted the name ugly and having nothing to do with music: Throbbing Gristle is a slang term for erection. According to Genesis, the band was not about rock ‘n’ roll, but rather an empirical research he accomplished without reservation.
In 1976 the Prostitution show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London caused debate in Parliament. P-Orridge and Tutti were proclaimed as “Wreckers of Civilisation“. The show displayed Tutti’s pornographic images from magazines, used Tampax in glass and included a stripper, transvestite guards and various people such as punks, people in costumes who were hired to mingle with the gallery audience.
Psychic TV was formed in 1981 with Alex Fergusson and long-time partner Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson (he was involved in both COUM and Throbbing Gristle). Prior to his musical career, Christopherson was a designer and photographer. He later directed music videos for Marc Almond, Paul McCartney, Rage Against the Machine and Nine Inch Nails amongst many others.
Psychic TV performed electronic and experimental music. The band released many albums with a large amount of contributors (Coil, Soft Cell, Derek Jarman, Timothy Leary, The Cult…) and even earned an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for most records released in one year. In 1992, Genesis and his family moved to California. The decision was taken after Genesis has been accused of “Satanic ritual abuse” for a video he created. It was time to leave England.
In 1993 he met and then married performance artist Jacqueline Breyer. She adopted the name Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge and the couple started to become mirror images of another. They applied the cut-up method to their own bodies to operate the mutation into a single pandrogynous being they called “Breyer P-Orridge“, with the help of plastic surgery and make up. Reverting the DNA of his own body could be seen as another act of rebellion from Genesis. Lady Jaye died in 2007 and Genesis chose to embrace the whole character on his own.
English Breakfast, 2002-2009, mixed media, Courtesy of Invisible Exports, NY
Genesis P-Orridge has exhibited in many art institutions around the world, including Centre Pompidou, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, White Columns, Barbican Museum, Deitch Projects.
Genesis P-Orridge is currently exhibiting at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS gallery, NYC. 30 years of being cut-up, until October 18 2009.
INVISIBLE-EXPORTS 14A Orchard Street, New York NY 10002
Posted: September 12th, 2009 | Author: Adeline Wessang | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: animation, film, magazine, painting, Simon Henwood | No Comments »
‘I paint my subjects as they are, as they choose to pose. There is no self-awareness; it is a very raw display of their own selves.’
Untitled, from the Cricklewood series
The launching of his retrospective book earlier that year is an occasion to focus on Simon Henwood, multi-disciplinary artist.
He lived in New York City between 1988 and 1992, where he released 11 books for adults and children, such as The Clock Shop, The King Who Sneezed and A Piece of Luck.
He launched Purr Magazine in 1993, which was the first magazine to attempt to combine art, comics, music and literature together. It featured artists’ painting and photography, as well as Henwood’s art. Each issue was accompanied by 10inch vinyl recordings. The magazine was distributed all over the world and become a small cult phenomena before stopping in 1995.
Soon after, he started a publishing company named Purr Books. He then involved himself with animation and started working on an animated series for British TV.
Alice was his second magazine venture. It focused on the representation of childhood in art and the media. It is very rare nowadays to find one issue of the magazine.
Simon Henwood has worked through a wide range of artistic media including painting, 3D animation, magazine production and film. He directed several music videos, for Apollo 440, Devendra Banhart, and Roisin Murphy, who is sexually assaulted in a funny way by a giant lobster in the Movie Star video.
Simon Henwood was born in Portsmouth, England in 1965. He lives in London.
Charlotte Mullins, Henwood: Paintings and Films 1998-2008, Stephane Simoens Editions, 2009
Posted: September 10th, 2009 | Author: Adeline Wessang | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: Andrew Zuckerman, animals, photography, portrait | No Comments »
‘I am interested in singular themes that have universal interest, mainly relating to the human experience‘
‘I started making pictures as a teenager in Washington DC shooting bands, which gave me access to situations that 14 years old don’t always have. I came to New York for the summers and lived with my sister while working at the International Center of Photography cleaning the darkrooms in exchange for printing time- all the while shooting music people in NYC. At 18 I enrolled at SVA and made short films, sculptures and pictures. I took a break from film after art school and opened a studio focusing completely on photography. I did lots of magazine work and ads.’
‘My first job was working for Vogue. I would shoot still lifes of bags and shoes. The Vogue art directors were really specific. We had to have a perfectly white background and it had to be beautifully done. I worked out of an old pre-war apartment on 46th Street. A fantastic photographer I assisted gave me a set of lights to start with. They were really old Speedotron piggyback systems. I didn’t have enough power in my apartment so I had to run cords out of the windows into my neighbors’ apartments and pay their electric bills. I had a totally jerry rigged system. Thank god no one from Vogue ever actually came to my studio! I was shooting like 8 products a day for Vogue and other magazines. I basically spent a year doing still lifes, which I had never intended on doing. It taught me how to light and be efficient and work on my own. I never worked with an assistant. It was just me alone in my apartment‘.
about Puma – the Fairy Godcompany
‘Puma allowed me to experiment with film after I did a successful print campaign for them. I made some spec spots to show them that what we were doing could work well on TV. They liked them and commissioned three. Now two years later we have made 27 spots together‘.
‘The challenge of telling a story in such a short period of time sharpens one’s visual and narrative convictions. The commercial world is filled with immense talent and resources that are all looking to create something entirely new. Rigor is an ethic that making commercials requires and I like that‘.
about the Wisdom project shooting
‘By democratizing the space – shooting all on white – I was able to put all the subjects on a neutral field for the portraits – which served to strip away issues that come with environment and created a cohesive humanistic thread throughout. The white essentially transported them all to the same room. There was no variance in the setup or the equipment – aside from the Mandela shoot which we used kinos for due to an issue he has with excessive light. The shoot consisted of a two camera HD video setup as well as the still shoot so we developed a transformable set from still to motion. In the book I actually included a grid of the equipment used to illustrate the gift technology has provided us in modern times. 20 years ago it would have been nearly impossible to create this project with the same quality and efficiency‘.
about the expansion series
The featured image is an egg being pierced. It is part of a larger body of work exploring the Big Bang theory. Zuckerman used a piece of equipment often used in high-speed photography called The Time Machine to create an interface between his camera, strobe and a microphone mounted to the top of his pellet gun. The reason for the low power setting was to get the highest flash duration, in this case around 1/6000th of a second, in order to properly freeze the motion of the balloon bursting. He used a Hasselblad H2 with a Leaf Aptus 75S digital back and a 120mm lens. Once everything was in place he would pull the trigger of the gun and The Time Machine, hooked up to a microphone mounted on the gun and a pocket wizard connected to the camera and the single strobe, would then do all the work. The sound of the gun is actually what takes the image. The gun was 5 feet away from the balloon and the pellet was travelling at a 1000ft/sec so it was mostly just math and “a lot of trial and error“.
Andrew Zuckerman, Creature, Chronicle Books, 2007
a portrait series of animals
Andrew Zuckerman, Wisdom, Abrams; Har/DVD edition, 2008
an account of the portraits and thoughts of famous elders: Vanessa Redgrave, Clint Eastwood, Nelson Mandela…
Andrew Zuckerman, Birds, Chronicle Books, 2009
a visual study of birds from the rarest to the most common