Outset Scotland was honoured to support Linder’s Flag and Film for Glasgow Women’s Library.
Before relocating to Bridgeton in 2014, GWL began exploring the hidden histories of women’s relationships to the East End of Glasgow, and specifically sectarianism – an issue that is still evident in the culture and civic environment of GWL’s neighbourhood. Once on site, GWL was eager to commission a new suite of works inspired by their collection, that also acknowledged the freighted nature of flags in their locale and responded to their proximity to Glasgow Green (the site of suffragette and feminist demonstrations).
Linder’s work fulfilled these ambitions and represented the inaugural commission in a series of flags and films that eminent women artists will create for the facade and entranceway of the Library. Linder mined radical feminist and lesbian texts, artwork such as wallpaper designs, and a multitude of historical sources (from those associated with the persecution of witches, to the alchemy of royal anointing) during her research process at Glasgow Women’s Library and concurrent residency at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.
The resulting body of site-specific work for Glasgow Women’s Library was entitled Bower of Bliss – a reference to the Mary Queen of Scots Bower at Chatsworth, where the anointed queen spent some of the fifteen years she was detained under the jurisdiction of Elizabeth I, and Linder shot her film. Both the flag and film featured a kind of collage of histories collected at Chatsworth and GWL’s feminist and pop culture artefacts. This effect was amplified by the way in which the exhibition extended beyond the flag and film to incorporate an extraordinary launch event at sunrise; a specially commissioned herbal cordial by Bottle of Ginger; burning incense; displays of items from GWL’s collection that influenced the work; a Spare Rib magazine reading corner; costumes made by Louise Gray for the film; and Linder’s sketchbooks.
Bower of Bliss was part of Glasgow International 2018, running from 20 April to 7 May.
Linder is known for her photography, radical feminist collage, confrontational performance art, and ties to the British punk scene. One of Linder’s most recognizable works of art first appeared on the sleeve of the 1977 Buzzcocks single Orgasm Addict. On the cover, Linder utilised what would become her signature mass-media collage strategy to adorn or violate—or, really, both—a classical nude female torso with mouths at the nipples and an iron in place of the head. By the time the single was released, Linder had already become a fixture in the Manchester punk and post-punk scene. Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award winning artist Linder has had solo exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Tate St. Ives, and Museum of Modern Art PS1.
Glasgow Women’s Library is the only Accredited Museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programmes of public events & learning opportunities.