yester world. Lindner’s world is filled with disguise and masks-there is not a naked body in sight. We encounter a form of exhibitionism intensified by clothing and objects. The body is forced into a strict grammar of girdles, corsets, bodices and suspender belts: undergarments articulate nakedness. This fetishism has its literary precursors in de Sade and, more recently, in the Apache cult. It also has its formal precursors: block-like body-masses in the work of Léger crossed by broad, gleaming black lines, also had their effect on Lindner. I made a note of the following remark he once made in a conversation: « For me, the most important one was Léger. He is the only one who influenced me. His way of life struck a chord. He occupied himself with daily life. He was a charming peasant. The elements in his paintings, the tools of his trade -these interested me. » Lindner’s first oil paintings can be dated to the fifties and the sixties. The formal means used in these early works clearly go back to an interest in Cubism. This led him to divide up bodies into their constituent parts and to recombine these as an erotic puzzle. All meaning is to be found in the body and its attributes. The body now becomes an expressive instrument, becomes instrumental, in effect taking forward the earlier, famous Cubist analogy of body and musical
instrument. Lindner’s reception of the visual language of Cubism is combined with his own memories of a lost golden age that he had known in pre-1933 Berlin. The themes of the city, allusions to Grosz, Dix, New Objectivity, and anti-Expressionist critique quickly set the tone. In the streets, from the windows of his apartment in 69th Street, at Macy’s or in Bloomingdale’s he collected motifs. Mechanical toys, sports equipment, pornographic specialities, cuttings from newspapers and mail-order catalogues piled up in his studio and in his apartment. He could recount his forays for hours on end. In fact these experiences were linked to the mechanical frippery of the town where he had spent his childhood and youth. Nuremberg, toys and the Iron Maiden, the mechanical refinement of homo ludens and finely calculated torture combined in his drawings and paintings with his own personal experiences. And it is relevant in this context to note that his underwear- fetishism went back to his compulsive memory of the bodices in his mother’s shop. The fear-inducing, symbolical quality of this world of undergarments which surrounded Lindner the child, brings to mind thoughts of a similar speciality, the fancy goods that Kafka found in the shop owned by his oppressive father.