Linder Sterling was born in Liverpool in 1954, although moved to Manchester as a teenager. From 1974–1977 she studied art at Manchester Polytechnic, and now lives and works in Lancashire.
Sterling was famed for her montage work produced in the Punk scene. Her work often used images taken from pornographic, women’s fashion and domestic magazines. As a feminist, she was making a point about the role of women in society, how they were treated and body image. One of her most well known works is the cover for 1977 single Orgasm Addict by Buzzcocks (1977) which depicts the naked torso of a woman with an iron for a head and grinning mouths for nipples.
“At this point, men’s magazines were either DIY, cars or porn. Women’s magazines were fashion or domestic stuff. So, guess the common denominator – the female body. I took the female form from both sets of magazines and made these peculiar jigsaws highlighting these various cultural monstrosities that I felt there were at the time. (…)Well, the iron came from an Argos catalogue and the female torso came from a photographic magazine called Photo. I never cleared the copyright but no one noticed, so it was alright.”
Although Sterling produced the image featured, Malcolm Garrett designed the single’s sleeve.
Born in 1956 in Northwich, England, Garrett studied at St Ambrose College and typography at the University of Reading – where he studied typography – from 1974 to 1975.
His involvement in Orgasm Addict is arguably his first big break.
“It was definitely a break, although it didn’t seem so big at the time. It felt natural – this was my music; these were my friends. My interests and capabilities coincided with the interests and needs of a group of musicians on a similar mission. There was a sense of collaborative purpose, and above all it was about passion and belief.”
The image was originally full colour but Garrett changed it to a blue monochrome. The bright yellow background against the blue is striking yet simple, maybe a reason why the image has since become iconic in the music industry.
The piece fits into the Post Modern movement which we were looking at in this week’s lecture as it fits with its perspectives and recurring themes – anti-science, chaos and irrationality. The image of the grinning mouths for nipples is illogical and anti-science – it could never be reality – while the iron-head is portraying the post modern theme of no progress is possible as it is making a stab at the role of women in the home., and finally the bold yellow against the bright blue gives a chaotic feel to the work.
Listen to Orgasm Addict here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2Mi995ggFU