December 23, 2009

Maria Miesenberger at Bildmuseet Umea University

Bildmuseet is proud to offer a major survey of the work of Maria Miesenberger. The exhibition includes the first complete presentation ever of the already legendary photographic project, Sverige/Schweden, Miesenberger’s evocative journey through the universe of family photographs.Sverige/Schweden

Maria Miesenberger, born 1965 in Lund, made her debut in the early 1990’s with several high-profile photographic series. The photographic medium has remained an integral part of her oeuvre, and is consequently given a special position in this exhibition. But Maria Miesenbergers art is also sculptural, spatial and three-dimensional. Sculptural works in aluminum, bronze or textile materials; objects composed of domestic materials such as scouring patches, sponges or sewing materials; installations such as an uncannily self-propelled swing are included in this selection. Even in terms of expression and form there are many diverse languages and intonations in Miesenberger’s output; from the spirited colors and art history play in the embroidered Framed Scouringpads to the playful pop culture stuff in Brain Choir to the suggestive low-key intensity in Sverige/Schweden’s black and whiteness to stylistic reduction/repetition and upfront vulnerability in Self Portrait (uncut).

The exhibition at Bildmuseet clarifies the network of themes that run through Miesenberger’s works. A recurring character and/or motif is the child – the child after infancy but before adolescence, most often staged with uncertain gender identities. Through such human figures as the formal platform, themes such as sexuality, identity, self perception, violence and power appears. And just as the family photograph is the starting point for Sverige/Schweden many references come from the vernacular, the household or popular culture.

A central element of the exhibition is – occupying close to half of the exhibition space – is the project Sverige/Schweden, which here for the first time is presented in its entirety. These suggestive photographic works are powerful and ingenious rearticulations of family photographs, taken from the artist’s own family album, with the artist’s father behind the camera. Near to 80 works from Sverige/Schweden embark on a winding journey into the innermost spaces of childhood and family relations, applying the photograph as tool, map and weapon.

A monograph of the Sverige/Schweden project, with texts by Elfride Jelinek and Jan-Erik Lundström is published on Steidl Verlag in January, 2011.

Maria Miesenberger at Bildmuseet runs until 17 January 2010.

Maria Miesenberger – Sverige/Schweden continues to Kristianstad, Center of Contemporary Art where it opens in late January 2010.

For further information please contact:
Jan-Erik Lundström, museum director, Bildmuseet
[email protected]
+46-90-786 5227


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