Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Linder Sterling

A radical feminist and a well-known figure of the Manchester punk and post-punk scene, Linder was known for her montages, which often combined images taken from pornographic magazines with images from women's fashion and domestic magazines, particularly those of domestic appliances, making a point about the cultural expectations of women and the treatment of female body as a commodity. Many of her works were published in the punk collage fanzine Secret Public, which she co-founded with Jon Savage. One of her best-known pieces of visual art is the single cover for Orgasm Addict by Buzzcocks (1977), showing a naked woman with an iron for a head and grinning mouths instead of nipples.

"At this point, men's magazines were either DIY, cars or porn. Women's magazines were fashion or domestic stuff. So, guess the common denominator - the female body. I took the female form from both sets of magazines and made these peculiar jigsaws highlighting these various cultural monstrosities that I felt there were at the time."

Sterling’s work – often using images of naked women, their faces obscured by domestic appliances – has continued to embrace feminist politics. In the Pretty Girlphotomontage series from 1977 she used images from porn magazines. During the 1980s, she made a montage from images of herself, entitled Myself as a Found Object, in which she covered her face with plastic or placed a fragment of another face on top of her own.

Sterling has never described herself as a feminist but her images scream in protest at the repression of women. They also play with notions of identity, ideas developed by artists such as Cindy Sherman.

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