Miriam Bäckström emerged as a conceptual photographer in the 1990’s, best known for her images of empty interiors which tell a story in the absence of the individual. Bäckström’s ongoing interests explore how history is told, and processes of creating and recreating memory using photography, text, theatre and video.
Many of Bäckström’s more recent works explore the documentary and the fictional, interweaving narratives that create new and uncertain realities and identities. She recently worked on a yearlong project with one of her students who assumed the role of the character ‘Miriam Bäckström’. This character performed public duties on behalf of the artist, and selected the work for a retrospective.
Artes Mundi 5 Exhibition
Miriam Bäckström explores how history is told and the process of creating and recreating memory using photography, text, theatre and video. Smile as if we have already won has been created especially for Artes Mundi 5 and is the second large scale tapestry to be produced by the artist. Cotton, wool, silk and lurex are woven together to create the piece, which is almost 3 meters high and 12 meters wide. Hung in an arc across the gallery, it allows visitors to explore both the front and back of the piece. The tapestry depicts ﬁgures in a room composed of mirror fragments, making it both claustrophobic and inﬁnitely expanding. From a distance it is clearly a photographic image which disintegrates into fragments of colour on closer inspection.
Chapter hosted a play and screening of ﬁlms by the artist. The play explores the complex roles, positions and perspectives within a relationship. The use of performance mixed with live video feed creates a paradox between the real and mediated video which is simultaneously being projected. Bäckström’s play was performed at Chapter on Wednesday 28 November. Bäckström’s ﬁlms Kira Carpelan, 2007 and Rebecka, 2004 were shown during Chapter’s annual live art festival Experimentica.