A collaborative project, entitled "Candy Factory", by Eric Heist and Genesis P-Orridge . Genesis P-Orridge is a performance artist and musician whose career has spanned some 30 years. He founded Coum Transmissions, the influential music group Throbbing Gristle, and then Psychic TV. He now heads a music/spoken word project titled Thee Majesty. Numerous books have been written about him and his work. Eric Heist has been working on sugar-coated paintings that contained silk-screened images of crowds of people. These paintings, along with Heist's interest in P-Orridge's past work and ideas, formed the basis of this collaboration. For Candy Factory, P-Orridge provided Polaroids of intimate, carnal acts from which were created a variety of art objects. Their collaborative structures present these images of desire within the framework of codified institutional structures. The main gallery is entered through a claustrophobic 15-foot long tunnel, the surface of which is covered in sugar. The interior is illuminated solely by pictorial light boxes set into its roof. In the main gallery, paintings, which appear at first to be lyrical abstractions, reveal themselves upon closer inspection to be made up of silk-screened images of dildo straps. A large sculptural presents a backlit duratrans of a sexual act housed in a structure that appears to be a homeless refuge mounted on a museum platform. In the rear gallery are multiples and limited editions for sale. The museum shop will market coffee mugs, T-shirts, bags of rock candy, end tables, and a decaled mirror, all suggestive of 70's style rock and roll paraphernalia. A pre-recorded ambient soundtrack provides an ever-changing aural landscape for the exhibition.
In Candy Factory, desire itself is presented as an addiction. It represents our continuous search for objects and interactions that might relieve boredom. As we become addicted, we repeat and retaste the most satisfying fragments and methods, bonding ourselves more permanently to the obsessive. Consumption is implicitly insatiable and production relies on this inherent hunger. The perfect product is addictive, and this addiction occurs at all levels of society, the craving to possess infecting the destitute and the wealthy, the adult and the child. This is an exhibition of artworks as separate items and as an integrated whole. The objects are both connected and disconnected by the process of choice and the experience of being both with and within them. The entire installation is assembled within the perceptual and interpretive mind of the viewer with the artists providing visual. auditory, and tactile clues to produce a unique cognitive impact. The objects themselves and the installed environment trigger nostalgia, desire, intimacy, sentimentality, childhood joy, and a Diaspora of adult disillusion. Notes from a studio visit with Jesse Bransford, 9/1/99:
These new works were executed in collaboration with Genesis P-Orridge. The images explicitly present the human body as fluid, supple, interconnected, and shameless. Closely cropped, there is no indication of pleasure, pain or individuality, diminishing an eroticized reading of the material. The bodies become landscapes of desire, ambiguous, de-gendered, self-sufficient in their refusal to be implemented as tools of commodification through desire. Set into social frameworks, these photo-constructions draw attention to discomfort and shame as the roots of American social alienation and paranoia - class distinctions codified by levels of modesty. Architecture represents classed space. The immodesty of these artworks reveals incongruous connections, extending a two-sided moral debate to include notions of luxury and valuation throughout American society, from those wealthy enough to enjoy culture to those who must turn to appliance boxes for shelter. The body which lies outside the system of valuation levels notions of luxury and entitlement as sexuality is presented as a utilitarian function, denying categories implied by the homeless or haveless. The fetishized presentation of the rarified object is presented as a museum artifact, coding the body as an object of valuation. The viewing experience limited to that of eye and image, the viewer is seduced by the space distancing him from the object, his ability to possess the object withheld by the institution which presents it. The art environment is the ideal presentation, but tyrannical. The physicality of the body disintegrates into the display, behind the glass, into the pedestal. If the body is disintegrated through fetishization and class in social architecture, in the sugar paintings it is disintegrated into its own logic of pure desire. In this, the body becomes sacred, deterritorialized, dealienated through the lack of social structuring. The sugar room presents an architecture of flux - a provisional construction site - as a gateway to dealienated desire. Inside, the viewer is reduced, stripped, confronted with his/her nakedness, interacting with the images in a low -ceilinged, glittering, cavelike interior. This socially undefined, sacred space contrasts with the codified interior spaces depicted in the other works. Living room
Desire is repressed, considered declassé, then sublimated through commodification to fit into the decor of a tasteful, tightly arranged interior. Desire is intended, in this setting, to be regarded from a distance; collected, not experienced. The distance between the alienated experience of commodified living and the object of desire eroticizes the object, increasing its value. The body is made to comply to space. Architecture as Classed space - body as catalyst for space. body
accommodates the space, instead of the assumed reverse. (box)Street - homeless state/haveless state - utility (wall piece)Domicile - fetishized state, body absent, enforced to comply to space (shelves w/images)Gallery - totalizing fetish - body inhabits only as image and eye physicality of body disintegrates from box through wall piece to shelves.
Art environment is the 'ideal', but ideal in it's tyranny. "the roving eye" - as the images are read in conjunction with the environments that contain them, the eye/mind is left with illegible bodies - their context is the only referent. The 'sugar paintings' illustrate this - the eye treats the image a confection, but the images as documents
refer to 'sub-conscious' desire (a la Bataille). Sweet is desire is sex is death = liberation from the context (?) "Warhol factor" With the inclusion of the 'room' installation, repetitive image piece functions as further collaboration with the ideas mentioned above, that
is, repetition is the attempt to neutralize the bodies represented - repetition in the 'cave' a situation that forced the viewer to physically
manifest the predicament the bodies in the images encounter - the bodies are not destroyed, they are reconstructed - the body as subjective creation. Thus Warhol and his project are completely relevant to the overall narrative. The history GPO brings to the image discourse is fascinating. his use of pornography redefines the gendered notions of viewer/gaze reations and makes transparent the body/architectural ideas sketched above.
Jesse Bransford, 1999