Maria Friberg (b. 1966) was born in Malmö, Sweden. She earned an M.F.A. from the Royal University College of Fine Arts, Stockholm, in 1995. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including a five-year working grant, Bildkonstnärsfonden, in 2005. She has had solo exhibitions at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Göteborgs Kunsthalle, Göteborg, Sweden; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.; Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, D.C.; Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm; Skärets Konsthall, Skäret, Sweden; Konsthallen, Linköping, Sweden; and Galica Arte Contemporanea, Milan. She has been included in group shows at Programa Art Center, Mexico City; Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; South Karelia Art Museum, Lappeenranta, Finland; Drammens Museum, Drammen, Norway; University of Connecticut, Storrs and Stamford; Dunkers Kulturhus, Hälsingborg, Sweden; Museet for Fotokunst, Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik (now Kunsthallen Brandts), Odense, Denmark; and Centre Culturel Suédois, Paris. Her work can be found in the collection of the Buhl Collection, New York; DG Bank, Frankfurt; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Malmö Museum, Sweden; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Ringier Collection, Zurich; and many others. She currently lives and works in Stockholm.
Feminist Artist Statement
"Maria Friberg creates male subjectivities that say 'no' to traditional male power, therefore suggesting a different kind of relationship to femininity. She is best known for photographic work that features male models dressed in business suits. Usually perceived as symbols of power, Friberg’s suits, however, seem to function more as protective armor to cover up insecurities and homoerotic tendencies in men. In Somewhere Else, men’s legs under a boardroom table fidget and jockey for space, coming into contact with one another in a sexually suggestive manner. Almost There depicts four men in identical suits floating in a pool of bright blue water. Utterly displaced, the men have lost all decorum and social weight. In Driven a collaborative video produced with Monika Larsen Dennis two bodies dressed in black suits push and pull at each other in a strange dance of attraction and repulsion. For the past ten years Friberg’s work has participated in a broader cultural discourse examining the uniformist conception of heterosexual masculinity that until recently served as a norm against which images of women were discussed. Presented as a seamless cultural phenomenon in this way, masculinity itself was rarely rendered problematic and analyzed as such. Challenging traditional views of gender and believing in a more fluid model, in which masculinities and femininities are located on one continuum rather than at opposing poles, Friberg subscribes to the view that masculinity is culturally constructed and performative like femininity. Her work suggests how a certain representation of masculinity might link to the feminine. This overlapping sensibility expressed in her still and moving pictures throws into question the oppositions along which femininity and masculinity are still being defined today. Consequently, while Friberg’s earlier work is ostensibly about masculinity it is also centrally concerned with female subjectivity, which has become an equally undeniable theme in works like Painted View and her most recent large-scale photographic series, Still Lives. Her two-channel video installation, Painted View, points to the mutability of sexual identity and the fluidity of the spectator’s engagement with sexually charged images. In her recent Still Lives, Friberg engages the language of advertising and traditional still life painting as yet another way to examine sexual identity in elaborately staged and beautifully rich life size photographs." ---Andrea Inselmann, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
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