A three-person solo exhibition — Neil Megson, Genesis P-Orridge & Breyer P-Orridge
June 23rd – July 31st
Opening reception: June 23rd, 4pm – 8pm
105 Henry St. Store #4 NYC, NY 10002
Gallery hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 12 - 6 pm
Few beings in recent history contained such multitudes as the late Breyer P-Orridge. Their innovative and influential body of work spans half a century, encompassing poetry, painting, performance art, photography, writing, sculpture, collage, music, and their own human form, forever transforming and transgressing. TIME=EMIT, on display at No Gallery’s 105 Henry Street space in New York City, serves as both kaleidoscopic retrospective and unconventional group exhibition, surveying the continuum of P-Orridge’s visual odyssey across a trinity of identities.
The centrepiece of the collection, "St Margaret" 1968 – which has never before been publicly shown – dates to their days as Neil Megson, staging provocative actions in COUM Transmissions. Intended as “a painting that is not a painting,” the work was created at a former fruit warehouse in Hull dubbed the Ho Ho Funhouse where P-Orridge lived communally in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s, before relocating to London to found Throbbing Gristle. A simple but not simplistic rendering of a silhouetted figure on stretched canvas combined with a standing sculptural element was periodically adjusted, as it hung for decades in their private residence. A pair of coloured pencil and magic marker drawings from this era further illuminate P-Orridge’s restless, occasionally whimsical, fascination with motion and form.
A legal change of name to Genesis P-Orridge in 1971 ushered in a multi-decade renaissance of purpose, notoriety, and vision. Great Britain’s growing grimness provided a ripe context for the rise of an increasingly fractured and confrontational mode of art, eventually labelled “industrial.” P-Orridge’s work from this era reflects the hostilities that birthed it, wielding cut-ups like street weapons against authoritarian forces. “To The Sun” (1987) and The Greatest Human Catastrophe Since Adam Got A Hard On” (1975) echo the England of A Clockwork Orange, inverting conformist sloganeering with comic violence and graphic nudity. Untitled (Sigil for Cameron) documents P-Orridge’s arcane, ritualistic side, honed across many years touring the world in shape-shifting psychedelic collective Psychic TV. Crafted in wood, wax, beads, leather, hair (their own dreadlocks), snakeskin, and house paint, the piece resembles some private, ravaged shrine, desecration as dark divinity.
From 1993 until their passing last year, P-Orridge’s most ambitious endeavour was the “Pandrogeny Project,” wherein through ongoing body modification they sought to become one with their partner, Lady Jaye, fusing into a single non-binary entity: Breyer P-Orridge. Their use of cut-ups during this phase, such as Untitled Cutup (2009), is markedly more oblique in both text and image, insinuating currents of disruption and discovery. The sculptures, too, demonstrate a deepening of P-Orridge’s interest in “esoterrorist” practices, repurposing symbols and ephemera into potent totems fraught with hidden energies. "Both Blood Is Thicker Than Water" (2010) and "No Mercy" (2019), though created a decade apart, resemble shamanistic memory boxes – the former scattered with teeth, a tampon, gold leaf, turquoise, and sequins; the latter filled with mirrors, magnets, stingray skin, copper nuggets, drug ephemera, and an antique pistol. "Shoe Horn #11 (Red Shoe From Susana)", from 2019, skews more sexual and direct, alluding to P-Orridge’s meeting with Lady Jaye in a New York City BDSM club: a bold red dominatrix high heel spiked with an animal horn and lined in fur, a chandelier crystal dangling glamorously from the zipper.
An array of Polaroids spanning 1994 to 2004 provide a uniquely revealing glimpse into P-Orridge’s visual and physiological fixations. Worms among rose petals, tribal masks, penis piercings, buckets of urine, peeking kittens, and candid self-portraits are all shot in a similarly inquisitive style, the flash’s glare sparing nothing.
“Time is that which emits,” P-Orridge wrote in their compendium of “apocryphal scriptures,” Thee Psychick Bible. Their life contained many lifetimes, traced in emissions of every shade, sound, and spirit. TIME=EMIT serves to thread a cohesive creative portrait from the triumvirate of selves comprising one of the art world’s most subversive and indefinable figures.