A bit different from our usual review format, Girdy & Birdy headed to the wondrous Jupiter Artland for a special event – the unveiling of Lindsey Mendick’s ‘Sh*tfaced’.
Birdy: When I first heard about the launch of Sh*tfaced at Jupiter Artland, I got quite excited. Having a Friends of Jupiter membership, and this being a ‘friends-only’ event, it was a chance to get in early and see what sounded like a very fun exhibition! I wasn’t wrong.
Girdy: I trust Birdy. I was going to Artland long before the penny dropped that this was a two-for-one and that a special exhibition was also in the offering.
I like art but am not educated on it, and perhaps my brain isn’t wired in that way (although not as bad as my knack for being appalling at languages). I like art but can’t articulate why, and there’s more on that later. I know what I like when I see it. I watch video essays from the likes of Evan Pushack, aka Nerdwriter, but haven’t bought his book Escape Into Meaning. As it turns out, this two-for-one was a brace of wins; there was some provocative stuff in Mendick’s smoke-filled room, and it got me thinking about personal responsibility versus a safe space to cut loose.
Birdy: Let’s be real, here; we weren’t really here for the party element, and we actually only stayed for the first hour (mainly because Girdy needed to be moving and has a gruelling schedule). However, what we were there for, I enjoyed.
I had a delicious rhubarb syrup and soda mocktail, some canapes, and chatted with some of the other Jupiter ‘Friends’ whilst enjoying the atmosphere. We did manage to have a good walk around Jupiter ahead of the event, and when it came to seeing the exhibition, we were some of the first in! Bonus (and we’ll cover the rest in a separate Girdy & Birdy review).
My initial thoughts as everyone was waiting in suspense went something like: ‘Yes!!! The doors are open! Is that… steam?? That looks like steam. Wait… is that… a urinal?’ And it was.
Girdy: I resisted Cafe Party (though it was the first thing my parents asked about), soaked up the party atmosphere, thanked Thor for not visiting and defying the weatherman’s forecasts and became incredibly curious about Sh*tfaced when Birdy noticed smoke curling out from behind the doors we were certain would open to reveal the exhibition.
We were one of the first inside. I’m old enough to remember smoky pubs (and good riddance to those), and I’m sure that was the vibe Lindsey wanted.
Weirdly, I found myself talking to grey-haired, well articulated and possibly retired from a school’s board of governors strangers about the clay penises (peni?) pissing from Mendick’s recreated urinals, or noting how the flickering overhead lights made it a challenge to pick out the details of the acts of public indecency captured in the model. How was your Saturday?
Birdy’s review of Sh*tfaced
Birdy: Going into the exhibition was a bit surreal, but also incredibly fun! We were greeted by black and white, funky bathroom-ish decor, steam, fairly atmospheric lighting, and some absolutely charming, quirky and, at times, shocking ceramics!
Handbags full of eels with cigarettes pouring out of their mouths, urinals with leaky built-in cocks, a choking face emerging from a toilet, snakes full of cigarettes and covered in condom packets, stiletto boots covered in worms, and boots with yet more cigarettes sticking out of them. The whole of this side of the room felt like the ‘regret and consequences’ part of being sh*tfaced. Got to be honest, the toilets very much reminded me of those nightmares I occasionally have when I really need to pee, can’t wait up and every single toilet is broken or full of piss.
I was also glad the immersive experience didn’t include smell.
On the other side of the room, there was a detailed scene of a nightclub; one side was fairly tame, with angels serving at the bar – whilst the devil had taken over the other side! Pigs were getting it on, people were basically turning into animals, with fighting and nudity. Miniature bottles of booze were scattered everywhere! People were turning into feral animals, and it felt very much the night before the morning after. I very much enjoyed this, and there was just so much to look at and take in.
As someone who’s never been ‘sh*tfaced’ in her life (having never been drunk), I realise this exhibition may not be aimed at me. But I still had a great time walking around looking at the oddities, and it made me think I’ve not really been missing much in terms of what it’s like to be genuinely sh*tfaced!
Or, maybe I have been. Maybe Girdy can illuminate that side of things.
Girdy’s review of Sh*tfaced
It’s a show of two halves, and I found myself up at the large table studying a small army of figures engaged in all sorts of interactions. No, it wasn’t a Warhammer battle, but if it was, then it was a Slannesh civil war as we had pig-people f*cking on the floor, demons serving booze, vomit, drugs, and wild parties. The level of detail was incredible. Mendick had created a Trainspotting of surreality, as if a fantasy Leith had a nightclub, and it was impressive.
Downstairs, we had larger works of art and recreated scenes. We had a lot of stubbed-out cigarettes. Urg. They’re tolerable as art, but I hate them in real life.
I couldn’t relate to all of the downstairs scenes. The monsters from the handbags encouraged me to step empathically into what someone’s bag might be like the morning after or after a drunken mishap with a kebab, but that’s not a problem I’ve had. The handbag, that is; I’ve indeed committed too many kebab crimes.
Sh*tfaced made me think about personal responsibility. Downstairs left me with the impression that if you’re not responsible for what you do, then you ultimately regret it and might ruin the night for everyone else too. You might not suffer if you drop a ciggie end, but someone else will, and perhaps to a significant cost if they need to replace a carpet or there’s a fire. Upstairs, though, in the wild party, there’s absolutely no sign of personal responsibility in action either… yet, it seemed contained. The limbo nightclub almost seemed to be a place to cut loose with someone else (or many others). It’s a ‘What happens in Vegas says in Vegas’ situation.
Food for thought. Having seen all the critters in Lindsey’s food, I think I’ll pass on anything she tries to feed me.
Birdy: I’m so happy we managed to attend the launch of Sh*tfaced – what a fab exhibition! I’ll definitely go back at least once to see it again before it’s over (plus, any excuse to go back to Jupiter is a bonus, really). I think my favourite was the toilet with the boots and stilettos, although the detailed scene with the pigs and general debauchery is a close second.
Girdy: It was good.
Okay, to unpack that further – Birdy asked me, as we stepped out of the smoky essence of Lindsey’s Artland pub, what I thought. I said; ‘good’. Apparently, ‘good’ isn’t a word suitable for art.
Birdy: Damn right it’s not! My art lecturer would have a rant at you for using that word, and that word alone, to describe such a powerful installation!
Girdy: Sh*tfaced is good because it eventually codified thoughts in my slow-witted head about personal responsibility and certainly held my attention while I was there. Unlike Birdy, I don’t think I will go back to see it again. I don’t tend to read books twice, watch movies twice and prefer to move on to the next thing – besides, I remember Sh*tfaced. It’s left its mark on my mental roadmap.
My favourite was the Slannesh civil war.
A review of Lindsey Mendick’s Sh*tfaced at Jupiter Artland