One of Linder’s many recognisable works first appeared on the sleeve of the 1977 Buzzcocks single “Orgasm Addict.” Linder utilised what would become her signature mass-media photomontage strategy to adorn or violate—a classical nude female torso with mouths at the nipples and a household iron in place of the head. This work is typical of her photomontage practice, which combines images from domestic or fashion magazines with cutouts from pornographic magazines like Playboy and Men Only.
By the time the single was released, Linder (b. 1954 in Liverpool) was already established in the Manchester punk and post-punk scene out of which bands like The Fall, Joy Division, the Buzzcocks, Magazine, and The Smiths emerged. In many ways, her photomontages from the period have much in common with the subversive practices of punk: ripping things apart and reassembling them was a way of showing the counterfeit quality and construction of any social image.
But Linder’s art went beyond the rebellion of her underground musical counterparts. Much like Hannah Höch in the Weimar era, Linder fused capitalism, sexuality, violence, feminism, desire, morbidity, and hope in her photomontages.
Those fantastic and yet quotidian works have gained perhaps even more biting currency in today’s culture. Lipsticks, television sets, mouths, household appliances, nude bodies—nothing and everything are sacred in her realm.
Linder has transformed herself many times as an artist since her early photomontages: she created the art-punk band Ludus and performed as lead singer, she applied assemblage tactics to photography and her own portraiture (most recently in a series with flowers) and combined her radical aesthetic with her love of spectacle in a number of performance pieces. In an influential work in 1982, Linder decorated tables in the Hacienda nightclub with red stained tampons, wore a dress made of meat on stage, whilst female friends distributed meat wrapped in pornography to the audience.
For ‘The Dark Monarch’ exhibition at Tate St Ives 2009 she collaborated with the late Richard Nicoll to create a work that involved veils, antlers, a gold metallic dress, and a white horse on Porthmeor beach. Linder had a retrospective at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 2013 and at Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover.
She has also had solo shows at Tate St. Ives, The Hepworth Wakefield and Museum of Modern Art PS1, and her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the ICA, Tate Britain, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Linder continues to make radical photomontages, photographs and performances and this will be her first GI showing since the inaugural festival in 2010.
A 60-minute documentary about Linder’s work has been commissioned by BBC4 to be shown in February 2018 as part of the BBC’s celebration of The Representation of the People Act of 1918.