Reading every review I can find of Nathalie Djurberg’s animated short films, I have not found a single one that describe them as Wallace and Gromit meet The League of Gentlemen. Of course, I’m being flippant here, but faced with a show that seems to be about obliteration of the self in order to reach a higher state, I find a little lightheartedness is required to keep things in perspective. So, consider this, she molds figures out of clay and plasticine, and uses the same stop-motion technique as Aardman, the creators of Wallace and Gromit. Her themes include death, dismemberment, torture, sex, power, corruption, avarice, intoxication, self-harm and so on, many of which are addressed to gruesome effect in the introductory episode of The League of Gentlemen.
The Museum Boijmans van Beuningen is hosting a large installation of her work this spring including Snake knows it’s yoga, her latest creation consisting of 2 films and 42 sculptures. There are also 7 earlier films, all set to hypnotic, even menacing music by her collaborator, Hans Berg. There are a number of photographs on the museum website that are far more successful than the few snapshots I took. (Here in the Netherlands, it seems that most museums outside Amsterdam have no rules on cameras. You are quite free to snap away to your heart’s content. No flash, of course.)
The artist was born in 1978 on the west coast of Sweden, drew no particular attention to herself in art school, but then she found her technique. Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg have exhibited at prestigious museums around the world and were awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2009. The pair describe their collaboration in Pagan Poetry, a video posted on Arttube.
Expect to see more of her and pray she doesn’t lose her sense of humour.