© Thomas Bruns
© Thomas Bruns
In the video installation “Somewhere else” in the restaurant of the local customs association, men wearing suits sit around a table, maybe a conference table. Only their ‘sub-table’ activities are visible, their legs opening and closing in a clumsy kind of ballet, performing the neverchanging ritual of such meetings, persisting independently of any topic actually discussed. The changed requirements and job profiles in our new service society have also contributed to an altered professional attire. Still the suit has survived its proliferation, from upper echelons of management and offices to a broader segment of the population, virtually unchanged. “The development of the formal and public presentation of maleness is closely linked to the history of the suit. […] For the past 150 years, ‘men in black’ have represented competence, power and sex appeal.” (1) In various video productions, Maria Friberg has explored the functions of the suit as a uniform and a protective armor. At the same time she exposes the weaknesses of this garment and its wearer. It is a situation showing that which is usually well hidden: the tiny sliver of bare skin between trousers and socks, a symbol of its wearers secret vulnerability.
(1) Andreas Bergbaur in: Der Anzug als Karriere-Outfit. In: Work & Culture. Büro. Inszenierung von Arbeit, exhibition catalogue Linz 1998, page 267
Maria Friberg, SE 1998, Somewhere else, Videoinstallation