A true legend of the Anglo-American avant-garde and underground, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has created a remarkable body of work that constantly walks the line between the dangerous and the essential. For P-Orridge artistic integrity demands that you live by what you believe in.
P-Orridge first achieved recognition with the 1969 founding of COUM Transmissions, a confrontational and transgressive performance collective, which was later transformed into the band Throbbing Gristle. Around the same time, in the early 70s, P-Orridge met the writer William S. Burroughs, who introduced him to the poet, performer and artist Brion Gysin: this marked the beginning of an influential collaboration focused on experimenting with the “cut-up” technique (a Dadaist practice that would influence P-Orridge throughout his career). P-Orridge was also a Mail Art practitioner. Responding to P-Orridge’s Mail Art, the British General Post Office charged him in 1976 with sending “indecent and offensive material.” The first British citizen to have been exiled in a century, Genesis P-Orridge consequently relocated to the US.
In 1981, P-Orridge founded the band Psychic TV. The band’s first released song, Just Drifting, was a pop ballad that is a far cry from Throbbing Gristle’s electronic and noise experiments. Subsequently, Genesis put together the music and spoken word project Thee Majesty with the guitarist Bryin Dall.
It is in 1990 that P-Orridge had a fateful encounter with the performance artist Lady Jaye Breyer, a well known figure on the NY city East Village scene. The couple experimented with the cut-up method, but this time on their own bodies! They fused their identities through plastic surgery, hormonal therapy and cross-dressing, so as to resemble each other as much as possible and to produce a single “pandrogynous” character: a work of art in its own right. Their project, and the death of Lady Jaye in 2007, was documented in Marie Losier’s very beautiful documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. The project continues with Genesis embodying the entirety of Breyer P-Orridge.
Genesis P-Orridge and Breyer P-Orridge have exhibited internationally, including recent exhibitions at Deitch Projects, Mass MOCA, Centre Pompidou, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Barbican Museum, the Swiss Institute and White Columns.