It’s with some excitement that Andréhn-Schiptjenko have announced an exhibition focussed on Liverpool-born Linder Sterling (1954). Iconic feminist, provocateur, and one of the defining figures of the Manchester punk and post-punk scene— this is the woman who wore a meat dress 30 years before everyone freaked out about Gaga’s stunt at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.
Linder first received mainstream acclaim for her collage on the vinyl sleeve of the Buzzcock’s single Orgasm Addict in 1977. The work features an oiled-up nude woman with an iron for a head and smiling mouths for breasts. It marked the beginning of a distinctive art style that would go on to characterise her career.
You see, when one thinks of Linder, her photomontages are typically what spring to mind. Female forms (sourced from pornography and lifestyle magazines) overlaid with food, household appliances, and flowers are frequently found in her work. Putting such disparate images literally on top of each other reveal the absurdity of the world they came from. Linder’s art can be seen as rather blunt critiques of a handful of issues we’ve all become a bit desensitised to; notably, the misogynistic imagery in advertising and the way in which it perpetuates old-fashioned gender roles.
It’s safe to say that Linder’s work is not for the faint hearted. In fact, her first collages were deemed so obscene that Rank Xerox refused to photocopy them in 1976. Whilst the most graphic focal points of the pornographic images are obscured, they certainly aren’t censored. There’s a good deal of bawdy, boisterous genital symbolism. Georgia O’Keeffe it ain’t.
Recent institutional exhibitions include Linder: femme/objet, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover and Tate St. Ives (2013) and Pretty Girl. No.1, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and PS1/Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007).
Linder at Andréhn-Schiptjenko Gallery
Opens Mar 9