Fia Backström

The Last of US — that safe spot in the dot above I in the word life

On View: March 10-March 11, 2022

512 West 19th Street


Various Hours

Fia Backström stages a two-person performance as the final element of her new work The Last of US—that safe spot in the dot above I in the word life, created for the group exhibition In Support.

Backström charts an associative trajectory in this multifaceted work, which has unfolded in stages since the exhibition’s opening in November. The foundation of the work is a set of what the artist calls “givens” in The Kitchen’s space—existing materials related to historical or recent activities such as temporary structural remedies, wall colors, and artworks previously installed. Blurring the borders between past and present, real and staged, Backström doubled each of these “givens” for the opening of the exhibition through the insertion of materials and representations in The Kitchen’s space between staff-only areas and publicly accessible points. In the work’s second phase, these “givens” act as springboards from which the artist explores connections to personal stories and broader cultural forces. Across these elements, Backström focuses on language operations in relation to psychotic breaks and authoritarian propaganda—two distinct forces correlated in the ways they impair or undercut a sense of reality on an individual or collective level, respectively.

On the final days of In Support, Backström’s new performance will bring together the accruing associations of The Last of US that safe spot in the dot above I in the word life. The performance will lay out a fragmented narrative while winding a path through The Kitchen’s building that bridges the locations of the “givens,” artworks including the series Language Holders Backström created in response, Alphabet Set (2019) on loan from artist Katherine Hubbard, and language written with one of artist Shannon Ebner’s photographic typefaces called WET LETTERS (2019– ). The performers will pull and transform language from various sources—including personal, clinical, and historical—to explore the visceral and mutable speech acts of psychotic experiences and fascist rhetoric.

Organized by Alison Burstein, Curator, Media and Engagement, with project management by Zack Tinkelman, Production Manager.

# About [In Support](

In Support takes on the project of parsing various dimensions of support as related to institutional activities. Featuring new commissions by Fia Backström, Francisca Benítez, Papo Colo, and Clynton Lowry, this exhibition calls for an examination of how support operates in distinct—and often unseen—ways as an offering, practice, and position within and beyond institutional settings. In Support unfolds across The Kitchen’s three floors and mezzanine levels, with works appearing in interstitial architectural sites that are associated with support in its manifold forms. The exhibition is on view through March 12 and viewing hours are Thursday–Saturday, 2–6 pm. Click here to learn more.


__Fia Backström__ is an interdisciplinary artist and writer, whose work ranges from projects including institutional frameworks and participants to text-based performances, photography, and installation-based exhibitions. Backström’s works have been shown at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2019, 2010); MUSAC, Léon (2014); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Serpentine Gallery (2007); and The Kitchen (2007), among others. She represented Sweden at the Venice Biennial in 2011, and participated in the Whitney Biennial in 2008. Her work was the subject of the Artist's Institute fall season 2015. Her books include COOP a-script, Primary Information (2016) and Fia Backström, Sternberg press (2011).

Production, Installation, Performance, Front of House, and Administrative Support

Production and Installation: Joe Galan, Taylor Hollister, Leo Janks

Performers: Fia Backström, Andrea Sisson

Box Office and Front of House: Yeeseon Chae, Justin Fiarcloth, Shantelle Jackson, Maurina Lioce, Neal Medlyn, Tina Mitchell, Adrienne Truscott, Gillian Walsh, Emily Viega, Sacha Yanow

Administration: Yeeseon Chae, Lauren Cronk, Sienna Fekete, Rayna Holmes, Alexis Jacquet, Eileen Kleiman, Bruce Lineker, Brad Loving, Matthew Lyons, Neal Medlyn, Legacy Russell, Kerry Scheidt, Lumi Tan


In Support is made possible with support from Sotheby’s, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Cowles Charitable Trust, Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Season programming is made possible in part with support from The Kitchen’s Board of Directors and The Kitchen Leadership Fund.