THE WAY OF THE GENESIS
By Dairia Kymber
It takes true courage and tenacity to devote your life to art. For Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, it’s h/er nature. No, that’s not a type-o. P-Orridge prefers this pronoun usage along with s/he and h/erself. P-Orridge’s mindset was well ahead of h/er time. As an artist, musician, occultist, and provocateur, s/he has spent the past four decades breaking boundaries in art, music, and beyond in an unapologetic manner. Thursday September 15 at 6pm NYC time, our digital director Lars Byrresen Petersen will be interviewing h/er live on Facebook at MoMA PS1.
“My nature is to be nonconformist,” s/he said in an interview with Andre Bauer in an interview on YouTube. P-Orridge’s question of identity has established h/er as an icon within the culture of avant-garde art. H/er physical body has become a work of art and speaks volumes to h/er lifestyle as an artist. That lifestyle includes love. When s/he met and fell in love with h/er second wife, Jacqueline Breyer also known as “Lady Jaye”, the two created the “Pandrogeny Project” which actually has nothing to do with gender at all, but dictates P-Orridge’s preferred pronouns. The project was the couple’s effort “to break down the limitations of biological sex and express their unconditional love for each other”. Both underwent endless surgical procedures to achieve true resemblance of each other illustrating the merge of two beings becoming one. This self-reinvention is a notoriety in P-Orridge’s career.
Along with h/er body, h/er art and music are radical in nature. P-Orridge’s artistic legacy began with the foundation of COUM Transmissions in 1970. The idea popped into h/er head and s/he took off running with it orchestrating one of the most controversial music groups ever. This was the first known musical endeavor for P-Orridge. Performances were usually improvised and included audience interaction and participation. Much of the music focused on sex, pornography, serial killers and occultism which was well against the norms of the time. This confrontational work gained national press coverage immediately establishing the subject’s P-Orridge would go on to stand for decades to come. Of the many shows that went on, the “Prostitution” show in 1976 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London is the most talked about. S/he went on to form Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, making h/er one of the most important musicians and performance artists of the seventies. As s/he grew as an artist, s/he was lead to change her birth name, Neil Andrew Megson, to Genesis Breyer P-Orridge inspired by h/er childhood nickname and the meal she consistently ate in grade school.
This past spring, P-Orridge presented the exhibition “Try To Altar Everything” at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York allowing viewers to engage in self-expression and devotion as inspired by the traditions of Nepal and Hindu culture. “The whole point of life is to eventually reunify with our divine self”, she said in an interview. As society continues to evolve and lines of acceptance blur, the past, present and future efforts of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge normalize and immortalize her intimate genius.