This is how Miriam Bäckström’s video The Viewer begins. Bäckström forces Pontén to sit through something she has realised he most dislikes. There is an almost sadistic component to both the videos she has made about the shifts and turns in the grey zone between what we call reality and what is staged. The other video is called Rebecka. In it we encounter the actress Rebecka Hemse, who also appears in The Viewer. She is obliged to improvise to some extent since the moment the camera starts rolling is the first time she has held Bäckström’s script in her hands. Off screen Bäckström asks questions and gives directions. Hemse moves in and out of the various roles; as herself, as an actress, and as Miriam Bäckström. The boundaries between when we are ourselves and when we are playing a role are erased.
Using the form of the interview, both videos discuss the relationships between a private and a public situation, and where the underlying foundations for the creation of identity come into play. The form infuses the content and makes visible the power-play between the director and the actor. The films leave you thinking about the way that everything is a staged performance and that the drama always wins.
Born 1967 in Stockholm.
Lives and works in Stockholm.
Fotolinjen. Konstfack/ The Academy of Photography. University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm
Kurs i konstvetenskap, Stockholms universitet/ Art History, Stockholm University, Stockholm
Selected solo exhibitions
Unlimited ID: the portrait as concept, Dazibao, centre de photographies actuelle, Montreal [CA]
Kasseler Documentarfilm und Videofest, Kassel [DE]
Amplified Pavilion, Nordic Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale, Venedig/Venice, [IT]
Selected group exhibitions
Romance, Cristina Guerra Galería, Lissabon [PT]
More than this! Göteborgs Internationella Konstbiennal. Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Göteborg/Gothenburg
Rebecka, the 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam [NL]
Nancy Spector, “Miriam Bäckström & Carsten Höller, Nordic Pavilion”, Domus # 883, July/August, 2005.
Alison M. Gingeras, “Stealing the Show”, Artforum International, September, 2005.
Ronald Jones, “Miriam Bäckström at IASPIS”, Artforum International, January, 2005.