UNIT 7: Linder Sterling

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LINDER STERLING

Linder was radical feminist and a well-known figure of the Manchester punk and post-punk scene, Sterling 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." 

Linder was also a partner of Howard Devoto, a founding member of Buzzcocks, who left the group to form Magazine. She also designed the cover for Magazine's debut album Real Life (1978) and was known for her 'menstrual jewellery' (beads and ear-rings made of broken coat hangers with absorbent lint dipped in translucent glue and painted red, in order to resemble bloodied tampons) and the mythical 'menstrual egg-timer' (a series of beads with different colours – red, white and purple – devised to chronicle the cycle from ovulation to menstruation) that she designed for Tony Wilson's Factory Records (designated Fac 8), which never entered production. 

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To me, Linder's work is extremely powerful, and by collaging images already been put into the world by the media, the message is stressed even more that this is society and how everyone is thinking, and that it affects us all. Her iconic image of the naked lady with an iron as her face is one of my favourites, as it simply embodies the feminist point so perfectly, it shows clearly how the women feel they are perceived, and there's no escaping the fact that this does make you stop and think. 

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Browsing through Dazed online I discovered these collaged images, which I found before I had seen Linders work. I really enjoy these photos, and think they bare relevanc to Linders, and I can perhaps view both artists for inspiration to create my own.

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