The Parade: Nathalie Djurberg

Djurberg’s new installation at the Walker Art Center is dominated by birds painted in riotous colors.

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Through Dec. 31

Nathalie Djurberg’s colorful new installation overflows with “horny snakes, sexually deviant tigers, self-mutilating humans,” and birds, lots of birds, said Fan Zhong in W. The young Swedish artist, best known for producing videos whose crudely sculpted Claymation figures engage in various acts of violence and perversion, has created an all-encompassing environment at the Walker that showcases her “surrealist’s eye and Freudian imagination.” A new set of her signature videos plays simultaneously on five large screens in a space dominated by a baroque aviary of primping ostriches, red-eyed flamingos, and dozens of other feathered fauna, all painted in riotous colors. Djurberg’s birds, at once cartoonish and menacing, hint at the dark, aggressive impulses that lie beneath every good-looking beast’s strutting and preening.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Entering the gallery, you may be tempted to “scrunch down to kid-height just to get the full effect of being surrounded” by Djurberg’s feathered friends, said Mary Abbe in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But it doesn’t take long to realize that Djurberg’s themes aren’t kid-friendly. The videos create a fantasyland “suggestive of folk tales and Punch and Judy shows” in which various grotesque characters are “attacked, fed, dismembered, carried off, hugged, eaten, hatched, comforted, and otherwise subjected to all the allegorical tribulations, and even a few of the triumphs, of life as we know it.” The scenes are “comic but brutal,” and in part because of the eerie Hans Berg score that accompanies them, brilliantly unsettling. “The Parade” is Djurberg’s largest museum show in America yet, a reward for the sensation her videos caused at the 2009 Venice Biennale. It’s also “one of the more engaging and unexpected Walker shows in recent memory.”

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.