Nathalie Djurberg
Hans Forlorara sina bada amar och ben

Apparently Djurberg’s mother made a puppet theater and traveled around Göteborg performing during her childhood. This short story of a young man initially listening to birdsong in a city, suddenly confronted to warfare and wounded, could visually resemble child’s doll game or mise en scène, with a high dose of cynicism and violence. The figure, Hans, is attended to by two nurses whose raw discussion appears in speech bubbles: “we’ll have to amputate”. Djurberg employs the full formal potential of the clay material and basic building blocks to emphasize the morphing messiness and randomness of destruction. The scenario ends with the ironic comment about him now being “happy and useless”.

“One of the first films I made, Hans förlorar sina båda armar och ben (2004), was pretty much about me and my relationship to harm at that time. The idea came from a dream I had. I dreamed that someone was trying to save the world, and then he lost both his arms and legs, but he was still trying to help by cleaning the street that really smelled. My mother and my grandmother were standing there looking at him and saying to each other things like “oh, look, he’s so useless”, “yeah, but he’s happy, useless and happy.” I was initially devastated by this dream, but then I began to think it was funny. I thought I wasn’t allowed to think it was funny because I really didn’t want him to lose his arms and legs. When you are not allowed to do something, you become attracted to it.” Quoted in “Germano Celant – Nathalie Djurberg”, in Nathalie Djurberg. Turn Into Me, Milan, Fondazione Prada, 2008, p. 193.

In the late 1990s, Nathalie Djurberg started to work with Super 8 film, then video, staging plasticine models or puppets. Her animations are short narratives, fairy tales or nightmares for adults in cynical representations of relations between humans and animals. Reminiscent of the Czech Surrealist Jan Svankmajer's clay animation films, as well as more recent work by Claes Oldenburg or Paul McCarthy, they push the boundaries of what is sacrilegious in art, eroticism and cinema. Glass or ceramic sculptures and installations add actual object-hood to her cartoon-like creations. The accompanying music is generally by Hans Berg.
“Immersion in the dark vortex where things are carnal and sexual, humiliating and shameful, coagulated as exemplars of familial and erotic relationships of subjection, animalism and irreverence, is the procedure Nathalie Djurberg adopts to show the despoliation process experienced by the individual”. Germano Celant, Nathalie Djurberg. Turn Into Me, Milan, Fondazione Prada, 2008, p. 12-13.


Nathalie Djurberg was born in 1978 in Lysekil, Sweden. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany.