Out of sight – Solo show at Göteborgs Konsthall

During the summer (2004), Maria Friberg will present video works and photographs at Göteborgs Konsthall in the solo show OUT OF SIGHT. Friberg’s works deal with questions of group belonging, masculinity, and representation. By using conventional symbols and attributes that represent power she spotlights the complexity of masculinity. In her works, she unveils the unexpected, frail qualities that are covered and protected by those attributes.

The business suit is, in many ways, one of the most potent symbols of power and control. By displacing the obvious framework – the place and the context – she gives the men the opportunity to loosen up, maybe even lose control. The well-dressed businessmen that recur in several of her works are, in this way, closely related to the naked man that is swept away by the foaming water in the video blown out. The distinction between irrational games and the fight for survival becomes blurred and elastic.

In some works Maria Friberg has widened her vision to embrace the symbolic meanings of architecture and social space. In this exhibition, she presents two works that are engaged in a direct dialogue with the classicist architecture of the kunsthalle. Atlanter consists of three monumental photographs of a man in a suit who seems to hold up the ceiling of the entrance hall. The piece was originally commissioned as a public art work for a residential area in the harbor of Helsingborg in southern Sweden a few years ago. Just like Atlas in Greek mythology, the man carries the weight of heaven – represented here by the skylight dome – on his shoulders. The video installation seconds away takes place in the empty space in front of a US monument with a classical colonnade. In rapid cuts, we see a dog running around in front of the building. It appears as a disturbance in the order, a premonition of something that’s about to happen.

For Friberg, the video medium offers the possibility to caption a whole movement. Many of her works are shown as short, silent loops, which accentuates the rhythm of the movement and draws attention to small details and gestures. In some works, however, sound is an important factor. In endless limit, the smattering sound of the flamenco dancer’s shoes imbues the image with a multitude of meanings, like an abstract sound painting.