Miriam Bäckström

Ars Fennica candidate 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. 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.

Lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden

Selected SOLO EXHIBITIONS and Screenings

2018 Ready To Tell All, New Karolinska Hospital Auditorium, public commission, Stockholm, SE
2017 New Enter Image, Marabouparken Konsthall, Stockholm, SE
2016 New Enter Image, Galería Elba Benítez, Madrid, ES
2014 Som Man Brukar Säga/As The Saying Goes, (w/ Rebecka Hemse) performance curated by Catrin Lundqvist and Helena Helena Seth, Stockholm Literature Festival, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2014 I Don’t Know, said Pierrot, curated by Mihnea Mircan, Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen, Belgium, BE
2013 Smile As If We Have Already Won, Nils Staerk Gallery, Denmark, DK
2012 Motherfucker, Artes Mundi 5, performance curated by Ben Borthwick, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Wales, UK
2012 The Opposite of Me is / Motsatsen till mig är jag, Lunds Konsthall, SE
2012 Mirrors, Nils Staerk Gallery, Copenhagen, DK
2012 See What You’ve Made Me Do, interactive light installation, KVADRAT showroom, Rue Charlot, Paris, FR
2011 Motherfucker, sound installation, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, SE
2011 New Opportunities, Same Disappointments, Galleri F15, Moss, NO
2011 Who am I? performance, Fakt&Fiktion, filmclub 813, Kölnischer Kunstverien, Cologne, DE
2009 Mirrors, Gallery Niklas Belenius, Stockholm, SE
2009 Appearance, screening, outdoor installation of posters, c/o Ebertplatz, European Kunsthalle, Cologne, DE
2008 Passage Amplifié, (w/ Carsten Höller) permanent outdoor sound installation based on modified live sound transmission, Allée de Justes, Paris, FR (Memorial for the 11,400 jewish children deported from Paris in 1944)
2007 Material for a Film, curated by Jonas Ekeberg, Preus Museum, Horten, NO
2007 Till Adam, sound installation, Livet en Dröm, Royal Theatre, Stockholm, SE
2007 Miriam Bäckström, Impakt Film Festival, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, NL
2007 Kira Carpelan, (w/ Kira Carpelan), Färgfabriken, Stockholm, SE
2007 Rebecka, Videopassagen, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2006 Betraktaren / The Viewer, Nils Stærk Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, DK
2006 All Images of Another Person, (w/ Carsten Höller), Centre de la Photographie, Genève, CH
2005 Amplified Pavilion, (representing Sweden w/ Carsten Höller), 51st Venice Biennial, Nordic Pavillion, Venice, IT
2005 Betraktaren / El Spectador, Elba Benítez Galería, Madrid, ES
2004 Rebecka, Apparences Éstranges, Mois de la Photo, Centre Culturel Suédois, Paris, FR
2004 Oidentifierade Föremål / Unidentified Objects, Värmlands Konstmuseum, Karlstad, SE
2003 Den Sista Bilden / The Last Image, (w/ Carsten Höller), Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2003 Apartments II, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, SE
2002 Set Constructions, Raucci / Santamaria Gallery, Naples, IT
2002 29 Variations of Light, Sølvberget Gallery, Stavanger, NO
2001 Apartments, FRAC/Fonds régional d’art contemporain, Dunkerque, FR
2000 Set Constructions, The National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, ICE
2000 Set Constructions, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, DE
2000 Miriam Bäckström, ICA/Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK
1999 Set Constructions, Almut Gerber-Kunst-GMBH, Cologne, DE
1999 Miriam Bäckström, Ludwig Múzeum, Budapest, HUN
1999 Museums, Collections and Reconstructions, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
1999 Miriam Bäckström, touring: Esbjerg Kunstmuseum DK; Horsens Kunstmuseum; Borås Konstmuseum SE
1998 Scenografier / Set Constructions, Olle Olsson Huset, Solna, Stockholm, SE
1996 Dödsbo / Estate of a Deceased Person, Galleri Larsen, Stockholm, SE


2017 A Temporary Futures Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, BE
2017 Golden Sunset- Framför och bakom linsen, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2017 Biotop, Biologiska Museet, Stockholm, SE
2016 Send In The Clowns, Nils Staerk Contemporary, Copenhagen, DK
2016 Aufschlussreiche Räime, Interieur Als Porträt, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, DE
2014 Moderna Museet Collection, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2014 Mellan Verkligheter – fotografi i Sverige / Between Realities – Photography in Sweden 1970-2000, Hasselblad Center and Göteborgs konstmuseum, Gothenburg, SE
2014 Det Synliga – Samtida Svensk Fotografi / The Visible – Swedish Contemporary Photography, Artipelag, Stockholm, SE
2013 Malmö Art Museum@Malmö Konsthall, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, SE
2013 Space, Place and Order, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Fransico, USA
2012 Artes Mundi 5, National Museum in Cardiff, Wales, UK
2012 Poule! Fundación/Colecciòn Jumex, Mexico, ME
2012 Genius Loci / Platsens själ, Artipelag, Hålludden, Stockholm, SE
2012 So You Say, West Space, Melbourne, AU
2012 Destroy Design, Modern Living, from the collection of FRAC, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, TWN
2011 Come in!, Art Foyer DZ Bank, Frankfurt, DE
2011 Another Story, Photography from the Moderna Museet Collection, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2011 FOKUS, videokunstfestival, Nikolaj Kunsthall, Copenhagen, DK
2011 Fakt&Fiktion, filmclub 813, Kölnischer Kunstverien, Cologne, DE
2010 ABC light camera action, Berlin, DE
2010 Ort / Places, Kunsthalle Munich, DE
2010 Scenväxlingar / Scene Shifts, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, SE
2010 Director’s Choice, ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, Ishoj, DK
2009 Voice Over, publication on theatricality, IASPIS, Venice Biennial
2009 Miriam Bäckström, Esko Männikkö, Torbjørn Rødland, Mai 36 Galerie, Showroom Rämistrasse 35, Zürich
2008 Interieur / Exterieur. Living in Art. From Interior Paintings around 1900 to the Home Design of the Future, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, DE
2008 Lura ögat. Fem seklers bländverk, Nationalmuseet, Stockholm, SE
2008 IFEMA-International Female Film Festival Malmö, screening, Malmö, SE
2008 Moon and Half Dome, Hasselblad Collection, Gothenburg, SE
2008 Experiencias 2, Naturaleza Viva, Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander, Santander, ES
2007 CPH:DOX, Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, screenings, Copenhagen, DK
2007 Emotional Realism, a screening of video-works by artists, Watson Theater, Syracuse University, N.Y., USA
2007 Clusters – Samtidskunst fra Nordea Norges Kunstsamling, Heine Onstad Kunstsenter, NO
2007 Unclassifiable Screening, Tangential Documentaries, Art Port, Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, New York, USA
2007 Det möjligas konst / Art of the Possible, Lund Konsthall, SE
2007 Allusive Moments, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Fransisco, USA
2006 Dreamlands Burn, Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest, HU
2006 Spread, remix, Spread in Prato 2006, Dry Photo, Prato, IT
2006 El puente de la visíon, Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander, Santander, ES
2006 (RE) VOLVER, Lisboa, P
2006 Unclassifiable Screening, Art Port, Freiluft Kino Kreuzberg, Berlin, DE
2006 Time, Space and Disorientation, Borgovico 33, Fondazione Ratti, Como, IT
2006 Modernautställningen 2006 / The Moderna Exhibition 2006, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2006 Sichtbarkeiten / Visibilities, Between Facts and Fiction, Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg, DE
2005 e-flux VIDEO RENTAL, New York, USA; Berlin; The Moore Space, Miami, USA; Portikus, Frankfurt
2005 X Bienal de Artes Plàsticas ciudad de pamplona, Ayunatamiento de Pamplona Iruneko Udala, Pamplona,
2005 Kasseler Documentarfilm & Videofest, Kassel, screening, Kassel, DE
2005 Romance, Lissabon, P
2005 More! Than This, Negotiating Realities, Gothenburg International Art Biennial 2005, Gothenburg, SE
2005 Shadow Play, Kunsthallen Brants Klaedefabrik, Odense, DK; Kunsthalle zu Kiel, DE; Landesgalerie Linz, AT
2005 34th International Film Festival Rotterdam, screening, Rotterdam, NL
2005 Colección Telefónica / Telefonica’s Photography Collection, MARCO/Musée de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, ES
2004 Fortaelling, myte og dröm / Børnens Kunstmuseum, Statens Museum for Kunst Copenhagen, DK
2004 Delayed on Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, HR
2004 Drawn by Reality-Encapsulated in Life, Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburg, USA
2004 Instabilt, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, SE
2004 The Violence of Tone, W139, Amsterdam, NL
2004 Carnaval, (w/ Carsten Höller), Centro Cultural Banco Do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro
2004 Whistable Biennale 2004, Kent, UK
2003 Utopia Station, (w/ Carsten Höller), Haus der Kunst, Munich, DE
2003 Trautes Heim, Galerie für Zeitgenössisches Kunst, Leipzig, DE
2003 Prophetic Corners, Periferic 6 Bienniale Periferic, Vector Foundation, Iasi, ROM
2003 Transparente, Centro Nazionale per le Arti Contemporanee, Rome, IT
2003 Arte Nordico Contemporaneo, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, MEX
2003 Yet Untitled, Photographs from the collection of Bernd F. Künne, touring: Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, DE; Suermondt Ludwig Museum, Aachen, DE; National Museum of Photography, Kopenhagen, DK; Kunsthalle Nürnberg, DE
2002 Raum ohne Raum, Kulturallianzen, Ausstellung Allianz Versicherungs-AG, Cologne, DE
2002 dissimile-prospektionen: junge europäische kunst, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, DE
2002 Exotic Representation, Bertha & Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter College Art Galleries, New York, USA
2002 History Now, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Stockholm, SE
2002 Raum Sichten, Architekturmuseum, Basel, CH
2002 Through a Sequence of Space/An Expansion of Rooms, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, DE
2002 Hollywood Revisted, Århus Kunstmuseum, DK
2002 Out of Place: Contemporary Art and the Architectural Uncanny , MCA Chicago
2002 Narrando Espacios, Tempos, Historias… The 27th Biennial of Pontevedra, Pontevedra, ES
2002 Great Theatre of the World, 2002 Taipei Biennial, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, TAI
2001 Enduring Love, Gasser & Grunert, New York, USA
2000 Finale di Partita, Biagiotti Progetto Artecultural association, Firenze, IT
2000 Miriam Bäckström, Matthias Hoch and Edwin Zwakman, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, USA
2000 Shockwave, Raucci / Santamaria Gallery, Naples, IT
2000 Vision and Reality, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, DK
2000 A Place I’ve Never Been To, Umjetnicki Paviljon u Zagrebu, Zagreb, CRO
2000 Inside Out: Reality or Fiction? Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, USA
2000 DAK’ART 2000, Biennale des Arts Dakar, Dakar, SEN
2000 Norden / North, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AT
2000 What If, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE
2000 Some Parts of This World, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, FIN
2000 Organising Freedom, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, SE; Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, DK
2000 Supermodel, MASS MoCA, Massachusetts, USA
1999 d’APERTutto, The 48th Venice Biennial, Venice, IT
1999 James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach Survey the Landscape, Lombard Freid Gallery, New York, USA
1999 The Passion and the Wave, The 6th International Istanbul Biennial, TUR
1999 Composite, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, NO
1999 Ain’t Ordinarilly So, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York, USA
1999 Constructed Reality, L.A. Galerie, Frankfurt am Main, DE
1998 Cool Places, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, LIT
1998 Mise en scène, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, AT
1998 Hasselblad Collection 1998, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, SE
1998 Lebensraum, curated, Arkipelag, Nordiska Museet, Stockholm, SE
1997 Lysande, Edsvik Konst och Kultur, Sollentuna, SE
1996 The Art of Conversation, 28 Cork Street, London, UK


Allianz Collection, Munich, Germany
Borås Konstmuseum, Sweden
Esbjerg Kunstmuseum, Denmark
Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria
Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria
Hasselblad Collection, Gothenburg, Sweden
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, Sweden
Martin Z. Margulies Collection, Miami, USA
Miami Art Museum, Miami, USA
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
National Public Art Council, Stockholm, Sweden
National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
Nordea Norge Kunstsamling, Norway
Pètur Arason, SAFN, Iceland
Saltarvet, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden
SIC, Stavanger, Norway
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Tate Gallery, London, Great Britain
TeleNor, Norway
Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

New Enter Image I-VII, 2016-2017
Jacquard tapestry (Cotton, silk, wool, Trevira CS, Lurex and acrylic on Trevira CS warp) Dimension variable


New Enter Image IX (sculpture), 2018
Jacquard tapestry (Silk and Lurex on Trevira CS warp) 294 x 159 cm


Ready To Tell All, 2018
Jacquard tapestry (Trevira CS on Trevira CS warp) 272 x 4650 cm


Som man brukar säga / As the Saying Goes, 2017
Color HD video 61 minutes and 9 seconds


Scenografier / Set Constructions, 1995-2000
Cibachrome on aluminum 50 x 64 cm