Miriam Bäckström, production image for Concentric, 2024
Miriam Bäckström: Consumer
Jan 18 – Mar 24, 2024
Kohta
Helsinki, Finland

Miriam Bäckström: Consumer in the larger gallery presents new sculptural tapestry work by the Swedish artist, who started showing internationally as a conceptual photographer in the late 1990s and is also known for her films, texts and collaborations with actors. For more than ten years Bäckström has been working with machine-woven images, realising a number of large-scale commissions for public spaces.

For her exhibition at Kohta Bäckström has experimented with more intimate formats. Bursting with seemingly iridescent colours, the image-objects of the new series Concentric (2024) are based on high-definition digital close-ups of turned surfaces of white metal with concentric machining traces. Such surfaces have no colour of their own but reflect every stimulus they receive, amplifying all the colours present in the room where the initial shooting took place.

The shots are enhanced and augmented in a 3D imaging programme, functioning as a ‘camera’ by being able to capture a virtual image at any given point, thus undoing the connection with the ‘decisive moment’ in analogue photography when external reality used to hit the lens.

[ . . . ]

From the beginning of her career Bäckström has been creating the concept of the ‘new image’, probing our relationship to the image world in which we spend more and more of our time. ‘In my earlier work I would photograph existing empty spaces of different character. The spaces are still rather empty, but now we have built them ourselves from photographic material. [ . . . ] Today the question is suddenly no longer “What is an image?” We have passed through the image, we are on the inside and now instead we are asking, “What is a reality?” And we photograph there, and then we weave that image.’

The exhibition title may seem like an ironic jab at the art market but also alludes to the challenge of producing image-objects for others to live with, in this image world where we are all producers and consumers at the same time.

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