Since the middle of the 1990s Elin Wikström has become known for her staged social situations, whose point of departure is people and how they interact with and against each other.
The creation of art objects has thus been superseded in favour of these "activated situations", as the
artist herself calls them. Her Moderna Museet Projekt, entitled the need to be free, took place in a shopping centre in Dundee in Scotland, in cooperation with Dundee Contemporary Arts. For two weeks, together with an assistant, Elin Wikström undertook a "journey on foot" by travelling up and down on the shopping centre escalator during opening hours.
Questions relating to "going with the flow", the power of habit, and both economic and human currents were raised in this "road movie", which had its own Funkadelic soundtrack, Free Your Mind (And Your Ass Will Follow). The entire journey was documented on video and after each tour, the video was shown on a monitor on the stairway at Dundee Contemporary Arts.
Elin Wikström's art often takes place in the middle of reality and aims to be part of it. She arranges psychosocial and epistemological experiments where both she herself and others participate.
There is a clear element of anarchistic questioning in her work, a criticism of received opinions and ways of working. For example, in 1993 she spent three weeks in a bed in a self-service grocery.
The work, What Would Happen If Everyone Did This? was part of a group show, ICA Malmborgs in Malmö. During the exhibition period, Elin Wikström lay in a bed in the midst of the grocery's merchandise and customers. This - for her - restful passivity was a protest against society's demand for order, rationality and utilitarianism. Daydreams replaced efficiency in a very concrete way. For Sculpture.Projects in the university town of Münster in the summer of 1998, she arranged, together with another artist, a cycle club, which provided opportunities to relearn something basic, something that has become "second nature". The bicycles available at the clubhouse were constructed in such a way that when one pedalled forwards, one travelled backwards. A risky and challenging undertaking, which posed questions about habits and what can be called "natural", and created a typical contemporary social community - often temporary rather than permanent - and which challenged received ideas about progress.
Many of Elin Wikström's works involve economic systems, the exchange of money values - but also other values such as trust and care. In Rebecka Waits for Anna, Anna Waits for Cecilia, Cecilia Waits for Marie, which was purchased by Moderna Museet in 1999 but first
staged in Rum, Malmö, in 1994, 50 women, without uttering a word, sit and wait for each other for 15 minutes at a time, over a period of four weeks. The work alludes to how women traditionally have devoted a significant part of their lives to waiting: waiting to become beautiful,
waiting for Mr Right, to have children, etc. But here waiting is instead an expression of our trust that the person who is to relieve or replace us will actually show up. Elin Wikström has recently become interested in roleplaying and has made Barbie dolls into the main characters in a piece where the exhibition space is literally transformed into a playroom for adults as well as children. Together with the visitors, the artist examines the social norms around monogamous relationshipss and the nuclear family.