Mireia Rocher is a storyteller.
Her background in linguistics has definitely influenced her visual artistic practice. Through text‐based works, collage, sculpture and installation Mireia develops personal stories from ordinary life. She is interested in the impediments that prevent a total approach to language, emotions or senses. Rocher chooses simple, everyday materials to address themes such as exclusion, belonging and the power that lies in vulnerability.
Mireia is born in Barcelona in 1978 and is currently living and working in Uppsala. She received her BA in Fine Arts from HDK-Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Fri Konst 2 neon transformers, 15-meter cable, glass tubing & neon gas, 2021.
How free is art?
How free is the artist?
How free is the viewer?
How free are the art institutions?
How free are we really?
How do we make contact?
What makes us glow?
The neon can be turned off completely if Mireia thinks her artistic freedom is very limited or threatened in any way. Otherwise, the word FRI (FREE) will disappear from time to time.
180 books in Swedish 2018.
Organised in alphabetical order, in an Ikea ‘Billy’ bookcase. Part of a larger project named ‘The Non-Functional Library’. Recently shown in Liljevachs Vårsalongen 2019, to much critical acclaim.
The Non-Functional Library’ is an ongoing intervention that Mireia began in 2017 when she secretly started to turn books around in libraries, bookshops, private places, medical centres, schools, churches, shops, in Ikea… Mireia finally decided to make it public, in a performance, in one of her favourite libraries: Stockholm Stadsbibliotek, her second home when she was living here in November 2017.
Books have always been important in Mireia’s life. The place she feels safe, motivated and inspired. In books, she finds a way to understand the world. However, when she arrived in Sweden, she couldn’t find in books the answers for her everyday life: understanding a new language, a new social environment, new circumstances and situations. she couldn’t find in books how to book a doctor’s appointment, how to walk on the icy streets, how to apply for a work permit … the ordinary life needs to be lived, not read!
Therefore, the ongoing project ‘The Non-Functional Library’ is not just about books in Swedish that she cannot read, but about each situation that she hasn’t been able to understand.
By turning the books around, one by one, Mireia recreates the effort of living in another country and the small steps that she has taken during these years of living here. The viewer can experience her frustration of not being able to reach the information, even if it is very close. When overcoming this frustration, the viewer has the possibility to see other things than expected, because when you don’t understand or you don’t know there is always something else to observe.
Llibertat Arrencada (Ripped out Freedom) 2019
Material: Catalan monolingual dictionary, noticeboard display with lock and key, staples. The page from the Catalan language dictionary containing the definition of the word Freedom (Llibertat) has been ripped out, harshly stapled and locked in a noticeboard display that has no longer a functional key. The dysfunctional key is displaced in a specific page, pointing to a word (keyword) that can be related to freedom or the lack of it.
Tools for Transformation 2021.
Material: A series of 4 collages on canvas. Sandpaper, net abrasive disk, foam board, wooden blocks, zig-zag rulers, pencils, masonite board. Site-specific works for the cultural centre Möbeln in Tierp (Uppsala). Möbeln was a furniture factory before becoming a cultural centre. Group exhibition with the theme ‘Play seriously’ (‘Lek på Allvar’).
Landscape 10/18 2017
Material: Collage from drawings on translucent paper.
This work is based on the painter Signe Hvistendahl’s (1881-1943) private writings. Eva Sundberg, Signe’s granddaughter that so kindly gave Mireia access to these texts, told her from the start that her grandmother’s handwriting was very difficult to read. Many of Mireia’s projects are about non-communication, difficulties to reach a dialogue and what happens when a language does not work. So she immediately knew that this was a rich material to work with.
Signe’s texts are written in Swedish and Norwegian, languages that Mireia is not fluent in, and the unclear calligraphy makes them even more difficult to understand. She also did not want to reveal to others, or even to herself, the private thoughts that could be found in her writings. Therefore, her intention was to keep her distance from the content and avoid ‘reading’, instead just ’looking’ at the words. Mireia was not searching for the actual meaning of the words and sentences but what she could find by following Signe’s pen strokes and also studying the shapes of her letters and words. She copied the text by hand onto transparent paper and finally she composed a collage out of them.
Everything in Signe Hvistendahl’s documents, apart from the digits that she could read and also understand without problem, shall in the work she is showing be seen as texts converted into drawings.