Working in the tradition of Pop Artists such as Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol, Linda Bäckström’s soft sculptures explore issues of power, status, and materiality. With a penchant for non-heroic, “anti-art” materials such as spray foam and aluminum, and a keen eye for cultural objects bemired in symbolic notions of power, Bäckström’s deeply tactile works create a rich interplay between association, meaning, and materials.
A keen observer of what lay beyond the glitter of constructed facades, Bäckström infuses humor, whimsy, and satire into often sober themes. While earlier works explored more personal thematic content including youth culture, teen ganging, and the human search for happiness, her recent work has shifted to the visual language contrived to drive American culture and the American Dream. Without value judgment, Bäckström explores the ways in which this multifaceted, multicultural nation goes about procuring consensus on a shared set of values and how these values, cultivated by the vast advertising and lobbying industries, find expression in visual symbols.
Bäckström describes her process as one involving intuition, chance and association. Scrupulously collecting images that catch her interest, Bäckström compiles her stores into a series of scrapbooks which serve as the starting point of her work. Bäckström’s spray foam sculptures are cast in hand-sewn textile moulds and assembled in a series of stages. Impossible to gauge and control the rate of expansion and drying process, her sculptures morph organically, thereby mastering their own identity and rejecting the artist’s total authority. Out of this unpredictability springs an authenticity that serves to open the stereotypes and allow for a variety of interpretations.