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Monday, September 13, 2010

Mixtapes @ The Glucksman - A closer look at Linder

This post has been a long time coming, and I certainly hope that I can do the subject justice, as I now schedule what must be the millionth post tonight before I head to London.


Last week I took a wander with my friend Hayret to the Glucksman Gallery, situated smack bang in the middle of a leafy enclave in the UCC campus grounds. Our target was the Mixtapes exhibition, which explores contemporary art through the work of artists who are heavily influenced by music.

It's fairly safe to assume that a majority of art is visual, and so the art involved is not so much involved with music itself as the visual aspects of music, like dancing, instruments, album covers and of course, the fashion that separates out followers of one musical tribe from another.  One of the things that drew me to punk as a young'un (and at a later stage, No Wave) was how different the clothing was to everyone elses.  It might seem like a shallow response, but that's because it is.  In my defense though, ask yourself, 'would Lady Gaga be half as interesting if she wore Clarks and sensible sack dresses instead of JC de Castelbajac and Thierry Mugler'?

Dancehall Danceoff from Sarah Doyle on Vimeo.

Sarah Doyle's artwork plays on a loop (I think her stuff will most definitely merit a much longer post when I have the time), zooming in and out on watercoloured ladies gyrating in tight denim, crop tops and bikinis to a tinny, merry-go-round sound.

The one artist that I came to see though, had her work displayed under glass at a small display table.  Here were a few works of Linder Sterling, an artist I knew from her simultaneously jarring and sexy collages from the late seventies to early eighties.  Like Cosi Fanni Tutti, but less obvious, or Duchamps with a decidedly feminist bent, Sterling succeeds where others have failed.  She manages to create a cohesive feminist statement, but remains a part of mainstream consciousness.  Her early work was concerned with music and her collages were used as covers for Buzzcocks singles, but today her work has been more broadly translated into fashion, with Richard Nicoll using her prints to form the basis of his A/W '09 collection.
Richard Nicoll's A/W '09 Collection.  Pics - style.com 

It isn't such a big jump from music to fashion and we can see that Sterling's work is easily applied to both.
Left - Sterling in 1981.  Right - Sterling's cover of i-D, October '09

Take the Punk Ladies series for example.  Sterling takes a photo and makes two different collages, the focus being on the new and different textures that are added to the clothes. 

The original photo


One of the resulting collages.

Want to see the other collage?  It's one in a series of three posters promoting the exhibition.  I've got one, which is tacked up safely on my fridge.  If you want to see it, maybe you should check out the exhibition or the Glucksman website (I know, I'm such a spoilsport).  Last I heard the posters were given away for free by patrons who mentioned the gallery's twitter feed, but this may not be the case anymore.  Free swag or no, it's still a must-see and Linder Sterling's work alone makes this well worth visiting.
The exhibition itself is well worth a visit and runs until October, should you want to spent a diverting afternoon learning, getting your fill of culture and generally having good, clean fun.