Fia Backström

Undermining assumptions about what constitutes an exhibition—its institutional context, discursive network, audience, or even the artwork shown—the work of Fia Backström (Stockholm, Sweden, 1980) explores the parameters of format and the logic of display. Her work refuses fixity of images or categories; virtually impossible to characterize, Backström’s practice encompasses producing printed matter and merchandise-based items, arrangements and displays, creating objects, writing texts, and initiating gatherings and events. HERD INSTINCT 360 degrees (2006), a staged situation with sacred undertones, including lectures, performances and communal intake, where the other side of human collective behaviour, in society at large as well as in the art-world, is investigated. HERD INSTINCT 360 degrees is an invitation to a group of people to be, see, discuss, and listen to talks about community. HERD INSTINCT 360 degrees is both a performance and a series of gatherings, which originally were set up during three Sunday afternoons in New York 2005-2006.

In HERD INSTINCT 360 degrees, the problematic sides of human collective behaviour are investigated, in the art world as well as in society at large, spanning topics such as cult mentality, corporate action and faux activism. The performance addresses group dynamics from mass-psychosis to totalitarian gatherings, including case studies of people’s susceptibility to group think, whether inspired by Malcolm X or Microsoft. Rather than addressing in-the-news issues, HERD INSTINCT 360 degrees, poses sceptical questions about the aspirations for and the very concept of group behaviour, whether in the macrocosmic forms of wars, politics movements and global markets, of which the art industry is one; or in the microcosmic form of artists’ communities, collaboratives and collectives.

Excerpt from The Growth and its Perennials

Fia Backström’s Gallery

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