Like many of Djurberg’s films this work engages with the nightmarish grotesque, a theme of common currency in contemporary art. In this particular film, Djurberg deals with a theme that is becoming all too common in our lives, caring for an elderly, infirm parent. The film suggests not only the degradation of the demented mother, covered with bed sores, but her daughter’s effort to care for her that ultimately leads to her death at the hands of the mother: the burden of looking after her literally crushes her to death.
Like all of Djurberg’s work, the film is very painterly, bridging the gap between film, sculpture and painting. She has stated that the writings of Georges Bataille, that she encountered as a student, made an impact on her, as the scatological and anxious nature of her work attests. Ironic, humorous, terrifying, cruel and tender, Once Removed…, is typical of Djurberg’s animalistic vision.