Performance The Worker through the Ages

Fia Backström, The Worker through the Ages, 2010 Performance at Moderna Museet 2010. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

The Worker through the Ages

A performance by Fia Backström

23.5 2019


In her performance: “The Worker through the Ages”, Fia Backström stages works from the Moderna Museet collection. The work is a staged environment that is completed with a public performance, which will be documented and later inserted on a screen as part of the installation.

Part of the new presentations of the collection

The collection will be rearranged in 2019. We recently opened a room titled “Together”, showing works on the theme of dignity, solidarity and collective forces. One of the pieces is “The Worker through the Ages” by Fia Backström, a staged environment which is completed with a public performance. The live event will be documented and later inserted on a screen as part of the installation.

Fia Backström with Albin Amelin, Carl Alexanderson and Bertil Damm

Backström’s piece, “The Worker through the Ages”, reveals the layers of meaning within the concepts of work and solidarity. It includes paintings and drawings portraying working-class culture, by the artists Albin Amelin, Carl Alexanderson, and Bertil Damm, from the Moderna Museet collection. The posters also belong to the collection; one of them was made in support of the miners’ strike at LKAB in 1969–70.

Fia Backström has also included a picture from an image agency, and a textile print based on the internationally famous 1938 Saltsjöbaden Agreement between the Swedish Employers’ Association (SAF) and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) on labour relations.

The paintings are installed during the performance

The paintings are on a cart before the performance begins, and will then be hung on a wallpaper by a curator and two museum technicians. The curator, a hostess (the artist) and a seamstress give a running commentary on how the works relate to the global economy and historic and contemporary working conditions while the seamstress sews cushions out of the textile print.

The last time the work was performed at Moderna Museet was in 2010, in connection with The Moderna Exhibition 2010.

Contact: Karin Malmquist, curator