Critics’ Picks

Daniel Albrigo, Maltesers, 2009, oil on panel, 30 x 40”.

Daniel Albrigo, Maltesers, 2009, oil on panel, 30 x 40”.


Daniel Albrigo and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

Western Exhibitions
1709 W Chicago Second Floor
June 16–August 7, 2010

Several years ago, performance artist and Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV founder Genesis Breyer P-Orridge had every tooth in h/er mouth extracted and replaced with gold casts. P-Orridge and wife Lady Jaye had undergone numerous cosmetic procedures in order to increase their resemblance to each other and become gender-neutral, “pandrogynous” human beings. Lady Jaye died unexpectedly in 2007, before her own set of gold teeth could be implanted. “Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is . . . A Love Story,” a joint exhibition by P-Orridge and New York–based painter and tattoo artist Daniel Albrigo, serves as a memento mori of the couple’s unusual collaboration.

Tightly framed in close-up views, Albrigo’s oil-on-panel paintings show P-Orridge’s cast teeth on sunlit windowsills, in drawers or boxes, and in P-Orridge’s mouth. Estranged from a body, the casts’ mundane sculptural qualities and uncanny aura are strikingly apparent. In Maltesers, 2009, several tooth molds are displayed against the cherry-red lining of a candy box. Viewed from the top down, the bared teeth take on aggressive, primal qualities. P-Orridge’s assemblages incorporate actual teeth, along with dead fish, tampons, fake fur, precious stones, and small cut-out photographs of P-Orridge’s and Lady Jaye’s surgically enhanced chins carefully arranged inside small wooden reliquaries. When considered in the context of the artist’s long-standing refusal to separate life and art, however, these objects feel disappointingly static and conventional. Despite their charged symbolic content, they can’t adequately convey the radical nature of P-Orridge’s larger corpus, which has consistently explored the potential of living flesh to serve as a vehicle for absolute self-expression.