Thursday 4 January 2024
'The Temperament Index' at Aspex Portsmouth
The Temperament Index – the latest incarnation of Melanie Jackson’s travelling project ‘Spekyng Rybawdy’* opens in Portsmouth, 19 January 2024.
In the installation, the viewer is invited to wander amongst projected animations, cut-out figures and body bits, handmade clay objects, drawings and more. Jackson has rallied together a procession, a carnival of conceptual nomads that jostle and jive, pleasure, fight and take flight across a trans-historical plane of existence, in which we are as much participants as voyeurs.
Pilgrim Badges were small cast tin or lead alloy brooches that were mass-produced in the medieval period and sold along pilgrim routes, and at fairs and carnivals. Easily affordable, made by and for working people, they were part of a vast and profitable pan-european trade. A group of these were known as the bawdy badges, the secular badges, the sexual badges, or the erotic pins. There are persistent images of locomotion, and motility, farcical assemblages, dissolutions and transformations of gender and class.They delight in hybridity – an extravagant imaginary of social and sexual reproduction, joyfully rendered with absurdist, deflationary humour. It is a world of absurd and inventive beings, rich with humour, dissent, subversion, delight, hilarity, titillation, surprise.
Using the badges a kind of collective commons from which to add in the present, new narratives of dissent and empowerment around sexual and reproductive bodies are revealed. The work opens up an important lineage of visual methods and vocabularies of resistance and ways of imagining alternative power structures for self determination, as well as challenging ways images may be used to uphold violences of control and exclusion.
*Spekyng Rybawdy MED s.v. “ribaudi” (n.), (b): “obscenity, scurrility, bawdry; coarse speech; an obscene story”; DMLBS s.v. “turpiloquium” (n.): “foul or offensive speech.”
The Vulcan Building,Gunwharf Quays
The show runs from 19 January – 1 April 2024
Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11-4pm
A range of books and editions by Melanie Jackson are also available on Matt's Gallery shop.