The artist Linder fills her collages with distorted flesh. Nipples become grinning red-plucked lips, pussies become plucked blossoms mid-bloom, a woman might be stroking a vacuum cleaner rather than a cock, the man might be fingering her control panel rather than her clit. Reminiscent of Hannah Hoch’s DaDa photomontages or Man Ray’s erotic surrealists collages, her mutilated pin ups trigger sex, gluttony, and violence.
“Linder Sterling” is the pseudonym of photographer, artist, and musician Linda Mulvey. Born in Liverpool in 1956, she took the name in 1976, while growing up in Manchester, the motherland of British punk. Morrissey considered her a close confidant. “I have always treated my body as a found object,” she told him in an interview. Her art too comes from found objects—old porn rags and advertisements. This was in keeping with the punk style she helped breed, where kids rip things apart and stitch them back together, their assemblage revealing the objects very construction.
Her work provokes an inkling of self-objectification. Linder wants to arouse our desire to consume, her use of pornography in keeping with common marketing techniques. Do we look at her collages as portraits of women-objects, house appliances that cook and clean as well as they fuck? Or are they rather the abject, the monstrous, with dislocated joints, deformed, like DeKooning’s Women—capitalism’s Barbie dolls? Maybe the woman-object in her collages are just that—the pornified rendition of Harroway’s cyborg, the perfect woman and thereby the perfect machine. Flipping through her artist book, it looks like a pastiche of Playboy and Good Housekeeping, linking the concurrent fantasies of wife and mistress when they are both put to work.