Nina Backman is a Finnish artist, performer, curator, and founder of the Silence Project. She was born in Helsinki, Finland, and originally studied Performance Design at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts in the UK. The hallmarks of silence weave through Backman’s art leaving traces of a veiled depth. In challenging the space between installation, performance, and visual art, silence is integral to the artistic process. For Backman, silence brings together different but related elements within a conceptual frame, in turn creating new dialogues. These set out to invite critical reflection, expose layers otherwise unnoticed, to challenge perceptions as yet outside our realm of experience.

She exhibits internationally and her work can be found in both private and public collections. Her works have been exhibited at Malmö Museum, Gallen - Kallela Museum, Punkt O Gallery 15, West Bund Art Center in China, Aedes - The Metropolitan Laboratory and Berliner Festspiele among others. Nina Backman is behind the performative Silence Meal, A Million Trees to Finland where planting trees is seen as contemporary art practice as well as a collective action to fight the climate crisis.
Picture: Elettra Bastoni

Curriculum vitae

Silence Meal

The Silence Meal is a performative dining experience hosted by the Finnish artist Nina Backman. The meal follows a specific frame and is officially opened when the artist sits down. Attending to the rituals of a meal in a way that is free of verbal distraction, the communality of silence brings with it an intensity unique to the occasion. Thus, in removing the ingredient of the spoken word, guests are left free to explore a myriad of sensory experiences that can be both physical, emotional, spiritual or cultural in nature. The Silence Meal presents its guests with an opportunity to observe what emerges in place of unspoken interaction. Each meal, being a unique constellation, is documented in a variety of ways; film, photography and sound. The traces left by the different Silence Meals are weaved together to create an experiential collage.

First conceived as part of the Hiap Residency Programme in 2013, Silence Meals have now taken place in Berlin, Shanghai, Norway, Stockholm, Reykjavik and Finland.

Aino (ongoing from 2006)

Aino is a performance piece presented with photographs, films and installations. Aino explores the fundamental need for home, identity and a personal freedom of choice. The photographs and films reflect an exploratory juxtaposition of traditional symbols and anarchic attitudes; a visual experiment of cultural uprootedness that draws on mythical references, past and present. The female character Aino is from the Finnish national epic Kalevala, a mythological collection of Finnish and Karelian folk poems and songs. It was compiled by Elias Lönnrot in the 19th Century, who collected the tales from remote villages where they had been passed on by oral tradition. Kalevala continues to have an important role in establishing and stabilizing Finnish inheritance and language today. Aino has been filmed and photographed in Finland and in Berlin – Germany.

Silence Meal - hiljainen illallinen

Minut kutsuttiin illalliselle. En tiennyt mitä odottaa. Olin nälissäni ja toivoin siis vain, että ruoka olisi hyvää. Mies ja kolme ystävätärtäkin tulivat. Neljänteen törmäämme gallerian edessä. Hälisemme siinä päällimmäiset pois, pohdimme josko meitä alkaa yskittää tai naurattaa. Continue reading...

Living room - Berlin Art Project

Living Room – A chandelier, a weathered chair, delicate paper collages and bombarded work on canvas transform the exhibition space into a domestic interior, a room bearing the traces of life. Who lives here and what does the furniture have say about it’s residents? Continue reading...

Chasing identities, by Mika Hannula for Aino

Some things stay the same, they remain coherently constant. There is a woman. It is the same woman all the way, both in the photographs and in the videos. She is always wearing a costume, the very same costume. Yet within this repetition of the same, something important is changing. Something is on the move; something is definitely on the move. Continue reading...

An epiphany on a Berlin side street

Nina Backman’s art isn’t based on any one way of producing art, or one style, nor is it confined to one medium or scale. That is why mere limits of expression will not prevent the artist in realizing any subject that is of interest to her. Until now, her work has consisted of photographs, photo painting, sculpture, performance and film. A visit to her latest exhibition shows that the list keeps growing. Continue reading...

Schokierende begegnung auf einer Berliner seitenstrasse

Kunst von Nina Backman basiert nicht auf einer einzigen Machart oder einem Stil, ganz zu schweigen von Material und Maß. Von daher kann jedes Thema, das die Künstlerin anspricht realisiert werden, trotz Begrenzungen in der Aussprache. Ihre bisherige Produktion beinhaltet Photos, Photogemälde, Skulpturen, Performance und Filme. Der Besuch in der neuesten Privatausstellung zeigt, dass die Liste weiterhin wächst. Continue reading...

Shokeeraava kohtaaminen Berliinin sivukadulla

Nina Backmanin taide ei perustu yhteen tekotapaan tai tyyliin saati materiaaliin tai mittakaavaan. Siksi mikään taiteilijaa puhutteleva aihe ei myöskään jää toteutumatta pelkästään ilmaisullisten rajoitteiden vuoksi. Hänen tähänastinen tuotantonsa sisältää valokuvia, valokuvamaalauksia, veistoksia, performansseja ja filmejä. Vierailu uusimmassa yksityisnäyttelyssä osoittaa, että luettelo kasvaa kaiken aikaa. Continue reading...