Linder: The Bower of Bliss
An Art on the Underground Commission
Southwark Station, London
Opening: November 8, 2018
Lunar Performance: November 9, 11pm
Art on the Underground will present a major public commission by British artist Linder at Southwark Station, launching on November 8, 2018, and on view until October 2019.
The work, the first large-scale public commission by Linder in London, consists of an 85 meter long street-level billboard at Southwark Station and a cover commission for the 29th edition of the pocket Tube map.
Linder has spent four months as artist-in-residence, carefully researching and mapping a vertical history of Southwark. The artist's starting point begins in the belly of the architecture at Southwark Station. Designed by Richard McCormack and opened in 1999, the station was inspired in part by the 18th Century notion of the English landscape garden and sought to create a place of peace and tranquility, a refuge from urban life. Further research draws on local collections including Southwark Council's Cuming Museum Collection, the London Transport Museum Collection, and Transport for London's lost property office as source material for an ambitious photomontage that will wrap the entire station façade.
The Bower of Bliss manifests at Southwark Station in the histories, myths, and fables of the many women Linder has uncovered during her residency in Southwark. From Londinium sex workers in AD 43, to an 1815 illustration of the Night Queen from Mozart's opera The Magic Flute which served as inspiration for the station architects, to the women who run London Underground today, Linder's photomontage will reclaim the representation of women from the male gaze to form a picture of empowerment for women everywhere.
This commission forms part of a new body of work initiated by Linder at Chatsworth House and Glasgow Women's Library between 2017 and 2018. The title, The Bower of Bliss, references the etymology of 'bower' -- with its origins as a garden dwelling, as a site for excess and lust, and finally as Victorian slang for the female form. Reclaiming the phrase, Linder will turn Southwark Station into a sanctuary, creating a billboard that will change each season throughout the exhibition period. Reacting to current socio-political surroundings, each layer will create a new collage in the artist's legendary style.
Linder has been working with photomontage for the past three decades, images lifted from contemporary and vintage pornography, as well as fashion, culinary, and domestic magazines. The photomontages manipulate and disrupt to challenge cultural expectations of women and in particular the female body as commodity.
The Bower of Bliss
Friday, November 9, 11pm
On November 9, the London Underground becomes a stage for an intimate lunar performance by Linder to mark the launch of The Bower of Bliss. Comprised of new music, choreography, and costumes, eleven performers will create a part sci-fi, part neoclassical visual spectacle deep in the underground.Music by Maxwell Sterling; performed by Linder, Kenichi Iwasa, and Maxwell Sterling; choreography by Kate Coyne and Lorena Randi; costumes by Louise Gray and Christopher Shannon.