Thermostat, 2020
oil on canvas
148 x 106 cm

In my latest exhibition, I have chosen to focus on interiors. I have sought to create a series of peopleless spaces that appear ordinary yet suggestive of an alternative reality. The paintings are created using 3D modelling and the mood is one of expectant, sci-fi film-like foreshadowing, though the key elements and objects on display are all instantly recognisable.

Natural elements, like vegetation, air, gravity, water and light, seem to gradually invade these human-made spaces and the material things they contain. Nature is waiting for an opportune moment to assume control of these deserted rooms.

My landscapes explore similar themes. A flower floating through space breaks through frozen sea ice, while a tree blooms amidst a snowy landscape, glowing with a magenta light. This is not life asserting itself in the lifeless, but a force, unconnected to our familiar natural cycles, suddenly making its presence felt in the landscape. The green light and the withering sun are reminders of the uncontrollable force that we ultimately depend on.

The world of material objects and “things” is a mystery to me. My paintings are an attempt to investigate what happens when these objects and things are placed in an unexpected environment and lit by an unexpected light. My subjects often present themselves to me through mind mapping exercises and through my own imagination. Placed in familiar interior spaces, like an office or a population shelter, these objects begin to create a bizarre, surrealist atmosphere all of their own.

Marko Backman

Marko Backman (b.1977) studied at the Arts Academy in Turku, graduating in 2015 before going on to complete an MA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki in 2019. Although his works overlap with traditional genres such as landscapes and interiors, they depict a world that is surreally real and yet unreal. In Backman’s works, humans are only present through their absence.

  • backman/2021/termostaatti

    Thermostat, 2020
    oil on canvas
    148 x 106 cm

  • backman/2021/maija

    Calathea, 2020
    oil on canvas
    135 x 110 cm

  • backman/2021/cubicle

    Cubicle, 2020
    oil on canvas
    122 x 122 cm

  • backman/2021/lilja

    Lily, 2020
    oil on canvas
    100 x 100 cm

  • backman/2021/parveketuoli

    Balcony chair, 2020
    oil on canvas
    96 x 125 cm

  • backman/2021/suoja

    Shelter, 2020
    oil on canvas
    88 x 117 cm

  • backman/2021/kentt

    Field, 2020
    oil on canvas
    95 x 135 cm

  • backman/2021/kylpyamme

    Bathtub, 2020
    oil on canvas
    100 x 155 cm

  • backman/2021/koivu

    Birch, 2020
    oil on canvas
    80 x 181 cm