British artist Linder is to present a major new commission for Art on the Underground at Southwark
station, launching on Thursday 8th November 2018, and on view until October 2019.
Detail of ‘The Bower of Bliss’, Linder, 2018. Commissioned by Art on the Underground, 2018. Image courtesy of Linder and Modern Art / Stuart Shave
The work, the first large-scale public commission by Linder in London, consists of an 85-metre long street-level billboard at Southwark station and a cover commission for the 29th edition of the pocket Tube map. There are 16.71 million journeys made through Southwark Station each year, as a result, the work will be seen by millions. This new commission forms part of Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme of exclusively female artists, part of #BehindEveryGreatCity – a major campaign by the Mayor of London.
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 by the 18th Century notion of the English landscape garden. Incorporating the language of landscape design within the architecture of the station, Southwark sought to create a place of peace and tranquillity, 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 offices as source material for an ambitious photomontage that will wrap the entire station façade at Southwark station.
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 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’ and its use in the notion of a ‘bower of bliss’ from 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 the current social and political surroundings each layer will create a new collage in keeping with the artist’s infamous photomontage style. Linder has been working with photomontage for the past three decades, created from images lifted from erotic, women’s fashion and domestic magazines. The photomontages manipulate and disrupt to challenge cultural expectations of women and in particular the female body as commodity. The commission will coincide with a major new performance piece on the 9 November.
“This commission liberates the scale and reach of photomontage. The ephemera with which I work will be seen at its largest scale ever, in its most public arena ever, and for its longest duration. I couldn’t be more thrilled to work within the lineage of Art on the Underground, especially within this year-long programme of fellow women artists.”