For Better or Worse
About the work
Flowers wilt out of the top of this ceramic vase, while worms and slugs crawl out of human ears to spell For Better or Worse. This sculpture is one of a series of five Wedding Vows by Lindsey Mendick, each exploring a traditional wedding vow using high relief motifs in the manner of Palissy ware. The series was included in her solo show Are You Going to Destroy Me? (Goldsmiths CCA, 2020) that centred on the artist’s relationship with her fiancé – the title quoting a question she asked him on their first date. Taking a cue from the inherent vulnerability one faces within the power structures of a romantic relationship, Mendick draws on their shared love of the gothic horror movies that were a mainstay throughout their experience of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns.
Presenting a highly personal iconography, Mendick has explained how the vases ‘poke humour at the symbiotic relationship’ between keeping a plant and a romantic relationship alive, while also celebrating her engagement to her fiancé. The inclusion of the latter’s ears on the vase refer to a couple’s intimacy as they develop traditions and routines that can be off-putting to others. Slugs are a recurring trope in the artist’s work, and in fact, her ‘worst fear’:
I’m terrified of them in all their bulbous, slimy glory. As I suffer from depression and anxiety, I treat my work as a mode of catharsis; pounding my neurosis and fear into the tactile clay to create effigies that analyse and almost celebrate my everyday fears and nightmares.
About the artist
Born in London, Lindsey Mendick graduated with an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2017. Her multimedia practice often draws on the autobiographical, spinning personal stories into fantastical immersive environments populated with objects and sculptures whose materiality and narrative qualities move through seduction, horror and ribald humour. Since her first solo exhibition at Bloc Projects, Sheffield (2014), she has exhibited in group shows including at Musée de Valence, France (2016) and Viborg Kunsthaus, Denmark (2020), with selected solo exhibitions at Visual Arts Centre, Austin, Texas (2016), Zabludowicz Collection (2018), and East Side Projects, Birmingham (2020). She is the recipient of a Henry Moore Foundation Award (2020) and nominee for the Future Generations Art Prize (2021/2).
Lindsey Mendick (1987 - )
- For Better or Worse
- Series Title
- Wedding Vows
- glazed stoneware ceramic
- height: 39.0 cm; width: 24.5 cm; depth: 22.5 cm
- Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
- The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 22 March 2021
- GAC number