Lindsey Mendick, Perfectly Ripe 

18.04.2018 | Art | BY:

In her new exhibition artist Lindsey Mendick brings audiences a rich and atmospheric memory of a summer holiday that she took when she was 13 years old. Immersing audiences in a world that is at first exciting and new, though later threatening and dangerous, Mendick uses ceramics, sculpture, painting and audio recordings to conjure the rich experience of her holiday.

Even at the peak of her sunny and nostalgic narrative, a sense of unease and discomfort pervades the piece. This is emphasised by the dark background within the exhibition. Below, Lindsey Mendick shares an extract from the audio recording which plays throughout the exhibition.

Lindsey Mendick, Tease Me Until I Lose Control (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch

I’d only ever been to France before. But this wasn’t France. We flew on a plane. And the man behind me was smoking cigarettes the whole way there. He was very fat and had two seats all for himself. The ashtray was in the armrest. You flip down one side of the metal and the dank smell of old fags rushes out. The ashy residue of successful flights. Your throat burns and your clothes stink. But no one complained.

It’s a proper hotel. It has three pools, a buffet and it has a discotheque. It has a discotheque.

Francoise has gone missing.

It was hot. So hot. I fall asleep on my Lilo on the beach. I wake up with salty lips and one hot cheek, a pool of saliva slipping across the PVC. There is shouting.

Francoise has been found and Joce and Viv are really cross. She had been flirting with a group of Local men. Vivian said she once saw Jesus behind the dustbins, so you can’t always trust what Vivian says. But Francoise had been looking at boys. And Francoise had been stealing your fags.

Your dad and sister tease you when you pull yourself up out the pool. They sing ‘Nutbush City Limits’, because no one told you at 13 that there was such a thing as too much pubic hair. This was evidently too much. Shamefully, you steal your dad’s razor that evening and shave it all off. For the rest of the holiday you itch insatiably.

Lindsey Mendick, Touch Me In The Morning, And Last Thing At Night (detail), 2018. Ceramic. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch.

Francoise comes down to dinner with Joce and Viv. She has no glasses on and her mum is telling her what all the foods at the buffet are because she can’t see. ‘Francoise did you lose your glasses’ ‘no she didn’t, we took them away so she couldn’t look at boys’ you watch Francoise tentatively slip foods into her mouth. Fish mixed with chicken mixed with an unknown dish that nobody at the table likes. It’s buffet roulette. You feel lucky your parents let you do what you want.

I’m allowed Malibu and diet cokes. They’re so delicious and I drink them with Fran and Nick as mozzies attack my legs. I never knew alcohol could taste this exotic. They smell like Hawaiian tropic and in the mornings I am never sure if I can smell the aftermath of the night before or the residue of sun cream on my skin.

I wear my Jane Norman boob tube dress because I now have big enough boobs to fill the tube. I had always hated my body. But here men like my body so I like my body. And my body gets me into the discotheque because no one realises I am 14 in two months. But I’m mature for my age. Everyone says it.

Zabludowicz Collection Invites: Lindsey Mendick, Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 12 April – 3 June 2018

(Feature image credit:Lindsey Mendick, An Itch That Needs To Be Scratched, 2018. Ceramic and flowers. Installation view of Perfectly Ripe, Zabludowicz Collection London. Courtesy the artist and Zabludowicz Collection. Photo: Tim Bowditch). 

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