Lindsey Mendick’s practice centres around her work in ceramics. Her artworks are often autobiographical, embracing a range of methods that include banner painting, sewing, metalwork, furniture making and sound. Cigs, Sushi, Tea and Putin, all 2020, were conceived as part of an installation that explored intertwining stories of female histrionics, depression and Russian spies. When she was 18, Mendick had a nervous breakdown, left art school and returned to her parent’s house in north London. Agoraphobic and insomniac, seeing visions from her window of men in black on walkie talkies, she discovered that their neighbour, the Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, had been poisoned.
These works narrate this episode: Cigs depicts the artist cautiously peering out of her window, watching the spies; the ceramic work Sushi shows Litvinenko having lunch atop a pile of fish at the sushi bar where the first attempt to poison him occurred; Tea is a teapot adorned with a golden penis and refers to the second (teatime) poisoning attempt and the strip club the poisoners visited afterwards. Intrinsic to the story is Vladimir Putin, who allegedly ordered the execution. In Putin, his head opens to reveal the artist having a panic attack in her bathroom, the only place she felt safe. Through these parallel stories, Mendick’s period of convalescence comes to life, her personal histories illustrated by a diverse and colourful group of objects.
- Artwork Details: 22 x 30cm
- Material description: Glazed ceramic
- Credit line: © the artist. Installation view (detail) at Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate
- Accession number: ACC31/2020