Exhibition: Les fables de Niki Lindroth von Bahr

The exhibition presented at the Institut suédois last Fall/Winter is travelling to Caen for the festival "Lumières nordiques"! Plunge into the creative universe of animated filmmaker Niki Lindroth von Bahr, known for her modern, poetic and funny fables, many of them with social or political messages.
Photo of a miniature mock-up representing an empty canteen with the figure of a mouse dancing, a bucket and a mop abandoned on the floor.

Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s films convey a worldview tinged with both humour and angst. The stop-motion technique she uses to set her  characters in motion and tell a story requires long, painstaking work. She breathes life into little animals endowed  with very human traits and behaviour in a fresh take on the tradition of children’s fables.

These strange little creatures move around in familiar spaces (a supermarket, a hotel, a fast-food joint, a petrol station, a swimming pool, a  doctor’s  office) or more private locales (a call centre, a nuclear power station). The settings feature a host of meticulously reconstituted details. The characters, who are often tormented and lonely, ask questions about their own destiny and that of humanity ; they suffer, wait for a better life and express a need to bond with other animals – even those from other species.

​This exhibition turns the spotlight on Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s work via four films she made between 2010 and 2019. It reveals a creative process based on handmade craftsmanship, unlike many of today’s films that rely on digital trickery. This painstaking method is highlighted by drawings and storyboards taken from her notebooks, glimpses of her studio, materials she uses to make her animals and sets, and videos showing dancers and musicians involved in her projects (to which music brings an essential dimension). Film sets complete with characters have been brought in specially for the exhibition, along with photographs  of emblematic scenes that can also be seen as artworks in their  own right. Last but not least, quotes from films and books from which the artist draws inspiration give us further insights into her work.

The work of Niki Lindroth von Bahr (born in Stockholm in 1984) is recognized today on the world stage. She is regularly invited to film festivals such as the Berlinale or Sundance and is awarded prestigious prizes such as, for her film The Burden, the Crystal at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the for the best animated short film at Clermont-Ferrand or the Guldbagge Award. She also exhibits in art centers, including Färgfabriken in Stockholm. Her films are broadcast both on Arte and on Netflix, which is currently showing a dark and eccentric comedy, The House, of which she has signed one of the three chapters.

Curator of the exhibition: Gabriel Bauret

Exhibition produced in collaboration with the Institut suédois, with the support of the City of Caen and Communauté urbaine Caen la mer.

Useful information

More information on the exhibition, the workshops and the discussions: click here.