Often misbehaving, New York-based Swedish artist Fia Backström believes in the eruptive and disruptive qualities of art: relentlessly rejecting any category, singular medium, or signature style. She creates an art of irritating inconsistency: while based in performance, it could also include printed materials, consumer products, written texts, or paintings and photographs borrowed from other artist-friends. Central to her thinking are the constructed social interrelations between humans, images and surfaces.
For her project in the Front Room, Studies in Leadership (a family affair), Backström uses the basic elements of making an exhibition to engage in exchange with the museum staff. Looking at contemporary styles of leadership—and reaching beyond the traditional dualities of disciplinarian/lenient or dictatorial/democratic—she departed from the classic role of the autocratic, visionary artist and chose, instead, to play the role of an ambivalent, insecure artist without a vision and unable to make any decisions. Consequently, the exhibition took shape over the course of five days before the opening, as a result of the interplay between her refusal to lead and a displaced version of a joint effort.