Worker through the ages (2010), a constructed environment and event by Fia Backström, will be activated at the Moderna Museet, Sweden, on May 23rd at 3pm (15:00).

Worker Through the Ages comprises several layers of meanings of the concept “work”. The artist has chosen, among other things, to show paintings of proletarian culture, in the form of paintings by Albin Amelin and Carl Alexanderson. She has also integrated a print of the internationally famous labor agreement Saltsjöbadsavtalet from 1938. The agreement regulates Swedish labour law between the Swedish Employers’ Association (SAF) and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO).

These elements form the visual basis of the work, together with contemporary images of a similar kind. The elements play with the fetish-status attained by images of work. To this, the artist adds further aspects of both physical and immaterial labor, scrutinizing both her own role as that of the museum worker. This is enacted in a public event. The event takes place in an environment constructed by the artist. The activities are documented and edited before being shown in a monitor that is part of the installation.

Throughout the event, a hostess (the artist) addresses the audience. Behind her, two museum technicians are seen opening packing cases containing works from the collection of Moderna Museet. An exhibition curator instructs the technicians on how the paintings should be hung. The hostess comments on the works in relation to the global economy and historic and contemporary working conditions.

posted 5.22.19