Who is Linder?

To many an old punk that’s a question that hardly needs asking. Linder (born Linda Mulvey in 1954) created the central image for one of the most iconic of punk record sleeves – that of Buzzcocks’ first single, Orgasm Addict, art directed by Malcolm Garrett.

The pair met at art college in Manchester, Linder introducing Garrett to the band when they needed someone to design posters. The sleeve for Orgasm Addict, released in 1977, features a collage of a nude female body with a household iron for a head and open mouths at the nipples. Linder is credited, unusually, on the front cover next to her image.

The work was typical of Linder’s photo-montage artwork at this time, created by combining found imagery from pornographic men’s magazines with imagery from women’s titles of domestic household scenes and items. She published much of this work in a fanzine created with Jon Savage called The Secret Public (1978). The themes explored in these works are still very much part of Linder’s work today.

Linder worked again with Malcolm Garrett to create the cover of Magazine’s first album, Real Life in 1978, and around the same time formed a band of her own called Ludus with which she (in)famously performed at The Haçienda club in Manchester on November 5,1982 wearing a dress adorned with chunks of raw meat. During the gig, Linder removed the meaty dress to reveal a black strap-on dildo. As well as performing, she also created artwork for her band’s releases, a piece of which, entitled She/She, was eventually acquired by the Tate.

As well as her collage and music artworks, Linder is also known for her photography of Manchester singer Morrissey (a close friend) and for her performance art. In 2000, her exhibition The Return of Linderland at Cornerhouse in Manchester included a short film entitled Light The Fuse which combined re-enactments of scenes from Sergio Leone westerns with Linder performing in drag as Clint Eastwood. Her latest performance piece, funded by the Hepworth Wakefield art gallery, will premiere at her retrospective next month at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris: a collaboration with Northern Ballet for which Pam Hogg has designed the costumes and for which Stuart McCallum has composed an original score.

In the last few years Linder has exhibited around the world at institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Tate, the Barbican, the Royal Festival Hall and the ICA in London, the Kunstverein in Munich, and the Maison des Arts in Créteil, France.
In 2006 publisher JRP Ringier published Linder: Works 1976-2006, and a new 200-page monograph on the artist, designed by A Practice For Everyday Life is due to be published by London gallery and publisher Modern Art in spring this year.

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