Razor Cuts: Montages and Photographs 1977–1980

September 2 – October 22, 2022

LINN LÜHN is delighted to present the second solo exhibition with british writer and artist Jon Savage.

Occurring at a time of lowering political, economic and social change, from the recession and civil unrest of the 1980s, through the advent of AIDS and the rise of Thatcherism, a dark flowering of creativity emerged in the UK that seemed to take shape in a covert form outside the institutional canon of the time – creating its own underground network of activities, events, economies and celebrities. As a generational grouping of artists and personalities, it is well described by the title of a fanzine published in Manchester in 1978: The Secret Public.

On the occasion of the show Razor Cuts: Montages & Photographs 1977 - 1980 Jon Savage published a selection of twenty re-prints from The Secret Public. Taking its name from an art fanzine Jon Savage and Linder Sterling self-published The Secret Public in 1978. Bringing together photographs, montages, collages and show bills they produced between 1976 - 1981, capturing their perspective on urban life from a crucial period in British punk. The name The Secret Public was initially coined as a reaction to the fact that very little of what they were reflecting in their work was mentioned in the mainstream or even the music press at that time.

Furthermore we will be showing a screen printed re-edition of Joy Division´s Shimmy poster, designed in summer 1979 by Jon Savage to promote a Factory gig night in Manchester.

, In July 1979, Tony Wilson commissioned me to design a poster for Joy Division: he’d seen the work I’d done with Linder Sterling for “The Secret Public” and gave me free reign to come up with whatever I wanted. Wilson was a great enabler then: if you were there and wanted to do something, there was an outlet. This freewheeling approach - what Peter Saville calls ‘autonomous opportunity’ - was typical of Factory Records in that early period.
I didn’t get paid, but I got the satisfaction of seeing the “Shimmy” montage pasted up on walls around Manchester - and the Joy Division show at the Factory was fantastic. The 30’s style flats came from an old architectural book: they reflected the South Manchester suburbs where I lived at the time.´
Jon Savage, August 2022

Jon Savage (*1953, London) lives and works in Wales, UK. He has been writing on social and cultural history for over 30 years, he is the author of acclaimed punk and youth culture books England’s Dreaming and Teenage. In the recently published book The Searing Light, the Sun and Everthing Else: Joy Division: Oral History, he reconstructed the story of the post-punk legend from Manchester from many hours of interviews with living and deceased witnesses.

Linder Sterling (*1954, Liverpool), commonly known as Linder, is a British artist known for her photography, radical feminist photomontage and confrontational performance art. She was also the former front-woman of Manchester based post-punk group Ludus. Linder’s work has been exhibited widely in international institutions.

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