Holding, 2014. Photography.


6 february – 10 april 2016

At first glance, Maria Friberg’s works appear to be stage settings of fictitious and dreamlike worlds. Yet, at the same time, she uses photography – a medium closely associated with reality and used as a tool in documentary genres with a social orientation. Maria Friberg’s artistry is characterized precisely by a great interest in societal issues and a desire to depict phenomena of contemporary life. Her works tell stories about the modern man in a world where the power of nature and culture is severely constrained and defined often by consumption, seduced by endless possibilities and allowed to retain the illusion of control. Her latest works address these issues from a child’s perspective. It is also through a child that Friberg addresses technology’s influence on our lives and the paradox of loneliness and isolation that arises within an interrelationship and a community.

Unlike the work of street photographers who seek to capture critical moments of life playing out in front of the camera, Maria Friberg’s photographs are the result of carefully planned, major productions in collaboration with inventors, set designers and artisans, essential to creating the work. References to art history, particularly painting, often appear in Friberg’s work. Danish painter Wilhelm Hammershøi influenced several new images depicting solitary characters in subdued enigmatic spaces. He has been called the painter of solitude, known for portrayals of interiors in which spaciousness and light play an important role. Like Hammershøi, Maria Friberg places great importance on her works’ graphic and formal elements.

A prominent feature of the staged photography with which Maria Friberg works is the image’s aesthetically pleasing qualities. The beauty attracts our gaze to reveal then stories that are both provocative and ambiguous. The interaction between the beautiful and the uncanny creates titillation of visual curiosity. Through these subtle measures, Maria Friberg singles out critical components – or moments – that constitute and define the spirit of the times.

More information can be found in the Folder (available only in Swedish).


About the artist

Maria Friberg is part of the generation of artists that made a name for themselves during the ’90s and was previously known as “the Nordic Miracle.” They attracted international attention because of their high artistic quality. Today Friberg is considered one of Sweden’s most significant photographers and videographers. In her images, she creates an ambiguity that challenges preconceived ideas of identity, gender and social hierarchies. In her later works, Friberg looks both outwards, towards a more meditative state of mind. Throughout her artistic career, she has experimented with photography and video while maintaining a reference to art history, particularly Nordic painters.

Maria Friberg has studied art history at the University of Gothenburg. She later studied at the Nordic Art School in Karleby, Finland, in 1988, at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm from 1989 to 1995, and the Myndlista og Handidaskoli in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1992. Maria has had solo exhibitions at several prominent institutions such as the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, California; Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C.; and Pi Artworks in London. In addition, she is part of the collections of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Kiasma in Helsinki, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, Tampa Art Museum, HF Johnson Museum of Art in New York, Denver Art Museum, National Museum of Woman in the Arts in Washington, D.C., among other places.

Belonging, 2010. Photograhpy.