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Nathalie Djurberg with music by Hans Berg at kestnergesellschaft

September 24, 2010

Snakes knows it’s yoga

Hanover, Germany

September 3-November 7, 2010

Having become well known for her animated films, Nathalie Djurberg (*1978 in Lysekil, Sweden) has always dealt with themes such as obsession, power, lust, and violence. As with her contribution to the Venice Biennial in 2009, in the exhibition Snakes Knows it’s Yoga (2010) the viewer encounters not only animated films but also a sculptural ensemble. The vast spatial installation immerses a multitude of plasticine figures, displayed under plexiglass covers on over forty wooden plinths, in various shades of light, and not least in the ingenious, masterful music composed by Hans Berg that accompanies the two films belonging to the ensemble.

In one of these films the sentence “Snakes knows it’s Yoga,” which gives both work of art and exhibition their titles, appears on a stage where a yogi is being torn to pieces by a snake. The traditional practice of yoga aims at a release from the burden of physical life and an achievement of spiritual enlightenment. The recurring issue of violence and hence suffering and pain in Djurberg’s art takes a new turn in this regard. How and why is pain taken on and borne? In an exotistic manner the sculptural personnel of ascetics, shamans, mystics such as dervishes and fakirs, yogis, holy monks, and deities represents a notion of enlightenment and ecstasy. The second film points in this direction as well when a naked woman gets high by licking a frog—a shamanic practice to enter the spiritual world. Within all this, Djurberg does not miss the opportunity to give her work a wicked, black-humored twist with a scatological aesthetic.

This exhibition tours in 2011 to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Kunstforeningen GL STRAND in Copenhagen. A joint catalogue will be published in October 2010 by Verlag fuer Moderne Kunst Nuernberg with texts by Hans Berg and Kathrin Meyer, Pernille Fonnesbech, Florian Heesch, and Kristin Schrader.