Saturday, 14 May 2011
Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge: A Pandrogenous Pairing
Neil Megson was born in Manchester in 1950 but became famous as Genesis P-Orridge, a performer with controversial groups such as Psychic TV, Throbbing Gristle and COUM, the artists collective behind the notorious 'Prostitution' show presented at the ICA in 1976.
'Prostitution' shocked even London's arts community with its line up of strippers, prostitutes and transvestite guards. Work presenting used tampons, rusty knives and syringes was enough to see questions asked in Parliament as to whether government money should subsidise such exhibitions and the organisers described by a Conservative MP as 'wreckers of civilisation'.
The controversy lead to extensive newspaper coverage which was soon cut up into collages and formed new pieces in the show.
This in turn caused more coverage and before too long the show featured collages of cut up articles about collages of cut up articles...
Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV were musical projects where P-Orridge would explore his fascination with subjects such as pornography, murder and the Occult with Throbbing Gristle forming in 1975 and Psychic TV forming in 1981 and P-Orridge only announcing his formal retirement from musical performance in 2009.
In 1993 P-Orridge met the woman who would become his second wife.
Lady Jaye had been born Jacqeline Breyer but took the married name Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge when the pair were wed while he became Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
This entwining of the couple's names was just the start of the blurring of their identities...
From early on in their relationship they dressed very similarly and soon came to the decision that they would dress identically. They made it a rule that if either of them bought any new clothes they would have to buy two of the same item to make sure that they could both wear the outfit.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge suffered severe injuries escaping from a fire at producer Rick Rubin's house in 1995 and was awarded $1.5 million in damages against Rubin and his record company as a result.
The Breyer P-Orridges decided to use this money to fund their next project, the natural culmination of the gradual meshing of their identities that had began through their renaming and identical dressing.
They would undertake reconstructive surgeries to attempt to become identical.
However, rather than using one as the template with the other attempting to match them they decided that they would form a pair with the aim being to form a single 'pandrogenous' being. Neither was to undergo a 'sex change'.
They would meet in the middle...
Lady Jaye had twelve separate surgical procedures on her face while Genesis had fourteen. They both had breast implants on Valentines Day 2003 giving them identical bust sizes and Genesis had two beauty spots tattooed onto his face to replicate the pair that Lady Jaye enjoyed naturally.
A key part of the arrangement was that neither should have anything removed. It was designed as a creative process rather than destructive.
Lady Jaye explained:
'If I could have a penis attached I would do it tomorrow, but for him to lose any part of the body that could give pleasure, that's not the idea...'
Lady Jaye died in 2007 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
The project ended there but its legacy lives on in the physical form of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, a man who loved his wife so much he wanted to become her and a man loved so much that his wife wanted to become him.
But it was never going to be as easy as one of them becoming the other.
Instead they both became each other...
Posted by Masal Bugduv at 13:55