A new solo exhibition by art’s ultimate punk, Linder, is on show at Kettle’s Yard this month. In association with Newcastle’s Hatton Gallery, it spans the artist’s five-decade long career and presents new commissioned pieces. Linderism is taking over the entirety of the gallery space, the Kettle’s Yard House, the Research Space, staircases, cafe and even neighbouring St Peter’s Church, charting Linder’s diverse career and practice through examples of her early work in the seventies up to her more recent interventionist public commissions.
Famed for her feminist photomontages and role in the punk and post-punk movements, Linder’s work is often radical and divisive. Her photomontages frequently marry household objects and pornographic images, juxtaposing wildly different registers to create works that disrupt the glossy perfection of print culture. Questioning the mechanics of gender is a cornerstone of Linder’s work, illuminating our social expectations of sexuality and identity over the decades and exploring their links to consumer culture and the media. The exhibition’s title, Linderism, as well as alluding to Linder’s own interest in style in both an artistic and fashionable sense, also hints at the artist’s work being a movement in itself. She has frequently been referred to as one of the most relevant artists of our times, with many of her works – from the cover art for the Buzzcocks’ Orgasm Addict, to her large-scale commissioned street-level billboard Bower of Bliss for Art on the Underground at London’s Southwark station – becoming highly recognisable due to their bold and confrontational style.
This multisensory exhibition utilises all aspects of Kettle’s Yard; Linderism bleeds into the cafe menu, staff uniforms and even invokes the elusive presence of Helen, the wife of Kettle’s Yard founder Jim Ede, through an innovative sound installation in Helen’s bedroom. Helen’s presence – or lack thereof – in the house has proved to be a key source of inspiration for Linder. Her interest in the idea of ‘the invisible woman’ and the gender-entrenched power dynamics involved has fuelled much of her work. She has created a new photomontage for the exhibition using archival photographs of Helen, in addition to a line of products called the House of Helen, including fabric squares, printed papers, cosmetic mirrors, pin badges, notebooks and scented candles. These will all be available at Kettle’s Yard, celebrating the artist’s commitment to uncovering women lost to history.
As part of the exhibition, Linder is staging a performance at Murray Edwards College on 14 March, which is a new iteration of her Bower of Bliss performances and features a soundtrack by her son, musician Maxwell Sterling. Her choice of venue is home to the largest collection of art by women in Europe – the New Hall Art Collection – which is likely no coincidence, given Linder’s important role in the progression of feminism over the past fifty years.
Linder’s work as a performance artist, zine-maker, musician, documentary photographer, collaborator, muse, guru, medium and bodybuilder is all explored in the exhibition, which is running throughout March. You can catch Linderism at Kettle’s Yard until 26 April.