Miriam Bäckström

Candidates 2019

Miriam Bäckström’s work is driven by her intense study of the symbiotic relationship between image and reality in the human psyche.She uses various artistic media, including photography, film, performance, theatre, installation, and text.

Introduction

Miriam Bäckström

Miriam Bäckström’s work is driven by her intense study of the symbiotic relationship between image and reality in the human psyche.

She uses various artistic media, including photography, film, performance, theatre, installation, and text. Her early work as a conceptual photographer involved technically precise depictions of interior spaces – such as apartments, museum galleries and department store vitrines – where the human figure was eerily absent yet implied in various ways. It was as if these environments were stage-sets in search of their characters.

Bäckström consistently aims for technical precision and innovation, regardless of whether she works with still or moving images. At the same time, she has opened her practice to collaborations that allow for the improvisational and the theatrical. These might be films, live performances or published texts, in which boundaries between the documentary and the fictional, as well as between the original and the appropriated, are speculative transgressed.

Bäckström’s hybrid, experimental practice exploits and subverts the conventions of visualising and story-telling, stagecraft and exhibition-making. Throughout her oeuvre, she has tested conflicting approaches to authorship and subjectivity, performance and spectatorship, the public and the private, fact and fiction. She is always looking for a new image, a new experience, a new emotion – so new that no one will quite know how to perceive and respond to them.

In her recent and ongoing work, Bäckström is applying this quest to the medium of machine- woven tapestry, produced on computer-programmed jacquard looms. Photographic perception is pushed to a point where distinctions between medium, image, material and surface become uncertain and unsatisfactory and a collapse of seeing and understanding is suggested. In the series New Enter Image, the new image gives rise to a new perspective: an immersive crafted reality where the viewer is always-already inside the image.

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