British artist Linder has become known for her radical photomontages and performances emerging from the punk scene in Manchester in the 70s. Her early works were a comment on gender roles and consumerism, often using the visual language of pornography layered with images of banal domestic interiors to question the original meaning in the found images. Her most well-known work from the early period is the photomontage cover image for Buzzcocks’ first single Orgasm Addict. Since the start of her career, Linder has exposed the ideas and mechanics of consumerism, sexuality and politics displayed in print media, often using humour as a tool and weapon.
In recent years, Linder’s interest in Greco-Roman mythology has become more integrated into her work. In her exhibition at Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Linder has focussed on the triad myth of Pygmalion, Myrrha and Adonis. The incestuous myth of Myrrha emerges out of the warped sexuality of her great-grandfather, Pygmalion, who, in an act of autoeroticism, fell in love with a statue of an idealised female that he’d carved from ivory.
Linder’s new photomontage series examines and reimagines the above incest motif as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Book X. Ventriloquising through Orpheus, Ovid tells the tale of Myrrha, Pygmalion’s great-granddaughter, who falls in love with her father after having been cursed by Aphrodite. Myrrha makes love to her father under the cover of darkness, describing herself as “someone like you” and as a subsequent punishment for her sins she is transformed into a tree, giving birth to Adonis from her trunk nine months later. As Myrrha weeps in remorse, her tears become the aromatic resin, myrrh.
The Myrrha myth is rare in that it explores female incest, in contrast to the wider known myth of Oedipus and male incest. Linder has studied the Myrrha myth in depth over the last five years and consulted with classicists for further opinion, inserting the story into contemporary studies on the queer body, heteronormativity and research on the bias within classics to lightening skin tones when translating ancient texts.
Linder’s low-tech photomontages – she uses a surgeon’s scalpel, glue and printed media from 1910 onwards to create her work – elegantly fuse disparate photographic elements together. The incest motif in Someone Like You at Andréhn-Schiptjenko serves as a parallel to her technique: images rub up against each other in ways they were never intended to.
Overall, maybe the main myth that Linder confronts is the myth of heteronormativity. She has since the beginning taken interest in creating new, alternative images that destabilise the normative ideas of sexuality, interconnection and relationality. She has exposed the construction of popular images of desire and created hybrid bodies which, one could say, circles back all the way to Ovid and his Metamorphoses.
In 2020 the first retrospective over Linder’s works were presented at Linderism at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, United Kingdom, with a catalogue being published in connection to the exhibition. Her works are included in the 2021 Liverpool Biennial, The Stomach and the Port, at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom and will later this year be included in The Great Invocation at Garage Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Previously institutional solo exhibitions include Her Grace Land at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, Linder: femme/objet, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover and Tate St. Ives (2013) and Pretty Girl. No.1, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and PS1/Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007).
Gallery name: Andréhn-Schiptjenko
Address: Linnégatan 31, Stockholm
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11:00 - 18:00, Sat 12:00 - 16:00
Open: 15.04.2021 - 22.05.2021