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Zabludowicz Collection exhibits Lindsey Mendick's installation 'Perfectly Ripe'
Lindsey Mendick, You’re So Vain, I Bet You Think This Sculpture’s About You (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Photo Tim Bowditch. Courtesy of the artist and the Zabludowicz Collection.

LONDON.- Lindsey Mendick’s installation Perfectly Ripe is a mise-en-scène featuring ceramic sculptures and an audio work. It reflects on a teenage holiday romance, burgeoning womanhood and a desire for revenge.

The starting point for this new body of work is a short autobiographical text written by the artist. It recounts a family holiday when she was 13¾ years old: the disco nights out, days spent lounging on the beach, and her sexual encounters with the entertainment staff. A recording of this text forms the soundtrack to the show, read by the artist and interspersed with snippets of music recollected from the dance floor.

The physical component of the show is an evocation of a restaurant terrace. On a gravel floor sit metal tables and chairs, some upended. From these sprout coral outcrops strewn with underwear, empty Malibu bottles, and the sprawling tentacles of an octopus. From the pergola above diners’ heads hang masses of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.

Numerous severed body parts also populate the scene: knobbly knees in cargo shorts, flip-flopclad feet, and a bearded head on a fruit-strewn platter. This centrepiece references bacchanalian feasts and paintings by Old Masters, in particular Salome with the head of John (1510) by Sebastiano del Piombo [the National Gallery, London], which is based on the New Testament tale of a dangerous female seductress, the daughter of Herod II and Herodias, who demanded – and received – the head of John the Baptist.

Collaboration through shared making is central to Mendick’s approach, and for this show she is working with her mother to produce a wall painting. There is also a contribution from artist Paloma Proudfoot, whose glazed eels slither out of Mendick’s re-creation of a Jane Norman shopping bag – a feared status symbol the artists recall with horror from their school days.

Mendick’s new body of work is motivated by anger at the dangerous situation she found herself in as a child, and her urge to confront the troubling aspects of coming-of-age stories as a genre. Her work addresses abuses of power by men, but also the emotional confusion that follows. Often laughed off when they seem too clichéd to question, such events are known about among family and friends, but remain unspoken. Mendick’s installation merges the grotesque and the comic in a space that is generous and engaging, but far from simplistic in its emotional register.

Lindsey Mendick (b. 1987, London, UK. She lives and works in London) completed an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2017, and previously studied a BA in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: She’s Really Nice When You Get To Know Her, Visual Arts Center, Austin, Texas (2016); Girls (with Rebecca Gould) as part of Periclo, Oriel Wrexham, Wales; Hot Flush, STCFTHOTS, Leeds; and Lindsey Mendick and Lynn Fulton, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham (all 2015). Selected group exhibitions include: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Roaming Projects, London (2018); You See Me Like a UFO, Marcelle Joseph Projects, Ascot; Herland, Bosse & Baum, London; In Dark Times, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; You Were High When I Was Doomed, IMT Gallery, London; and Sell Yourself, Patrick Studios, Leeds (all 2017). Mendick has been chosen to undertake the 2018 Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award Artist Commission at The Turnpike, Leigh.

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