Maria Friberg : Working Model
Sep 9 – Oct 28, 2006
Robischon Gallery is pleased to present Swedish artist Maria Friberg's psychologically resonant, large-scale photographs and video works addressing compelling issues of the masculine ideal in contemporary society. "Working Model" features five, pivotal photographs from the artist's almost there and still lives series along with four, individual video installations entitled blown out, driven, somewhere else and endless limit.
Widely recognized in Europe, Friberg examines and allegorizes the conventions and conditions surrounding masculinity to reveal underlying paradoxes and vulnerabilities inherent in traditional male roles. Frequently outfitting her models in business suits, a very recognizable signifier of male power, Friberg offers that suits seem to function more as a protective armor.
According to writer Rusty Freeman, "Friberg's leitmotiv is the male body and its most important skin, the modern business suit. Her art uses the immediacy of video and photography to capture the nuances of performance and to express the often-elusive vagaries of social conditioning. Her method is subtle; the messages she creates are poetic, and often equivocal. Friberg's work opens our awareness to the elasticity of representing masculinity. As recent cultural studies have shown, there cannot be one simple definition. It exists in many forms (aggressive, passive and points in between) and within multiple contexts... Masculinity is perfomative, meaning that its definition is grounded in the acts we perform as men and women."
In this exhibition, Maria Friberg further uses her eloquent, thought- provoking visual vocabulary with photographic and projected images as diverse as men enclosed in tires to suited legs jostling underneath a boardroom table. In one such video installation, blown out, a man is deeply immersed in a churning, white sea – a mesmerizing, enveloping experience. The artist presents a contemplative scene, a metaphor for control and abandon. The male figure, stripped of his business suit, comes close to total submersion in the sea's foamy turbulent waves. Recasting certain aspects from the psychological and social dimensions of masculinity, Friberg's work offers a sensitive view questioning certain contemporary standards of masculinity and its working model.
Educated at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Sweden, Maria Friberg has exhibited at the Modern Museum, Stockholm, Sweden, Galica Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy, Statements at Art Basel, Switzerland and the Armory Photography Show, New York, among others. She has been featured in exhibitions in Berlin, Germany and Paris France. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Modern Museum, Stockholm, and the Malmo Museum, Malmo, Sweden and in private and corporate collections throughout the world.