Maria Friberg: Communicate Over Vast Distances, Pi Artworks, London

Maria Friberg: Communicate Over Vast Distances, Pi Artworks, London

For Maria Friberg’s first solo exhibition with Pi Artworks, the gallery has curated a selection of photographic and video works that span the last 10 years. Friberg belongs to a generation of Scandinavian artists often referred to as the Nordic Miracle, a name coined in the late 90’s after a seminal survey exhibition at the Musee d’art Moderne, Paris.

The artist creates pristinely composed photographic and video tableaux that capture men, women and children in inert, meditative states and engaged in distinctively passive and introverted actions, such as floating on the surface of a foaming pool, listening to music, sleeping, or simply sitting in a state of apathy. Their blank, expressionless faces prevent the viewer from reading their emotions, each figure lacking any visible interconnectedness with anyone else while simultaneously appearing completely at ease within their surroundings.

These dreamlike environments vary from the inexplicable stacks of crushed cars in Still Lives (2005), to the dense and luscious Botanical garden in Days of Eyes (2014); they are peculiar environments to find a serene individual and entirely unexplained. The artist shuns the use of digital technology to fabricate her work, so instead each setting is arranged through a lengthy set-up process, and she also uses ordinary people as opposed to actors.

Originally working as a painter, the people and objects are now Friberg’s material; she manipulates and arranges them physically to create a spontaneity that generates visual variations of the artist’s original plan and allows the images to contain a visceral sense of the real places and people they contain.

Maria Friberg, Communicate Over Vast Distances, until 31 January, Pi Artworks, 55 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EG.

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Maria Friberg’s Almost There (2000) can be found in Aesthetica Issue 62. To pick up a copy visit

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1. Maria Friberg, Between (2014). Copyright of the photographer.