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Dobar Cú
Johan Thurfjell

During a residency in Ireland, I met a man in Sligo who was an expert on Irish mythology. As I have an interest in folkloric beings and monsters, I asked him to tell me about some beast from Ireland that he didn’t think I had heard of before. He chose Dobar Cú, the dark wet dog.

Hundreds of years ago a woman from Sligo had not returned home after doing laundry by the river. Her husband became worried and went to see what had happened. He found the woman dead with what he later described as a giant otter lying on her chest. The woman was buried on the outskirts of the city and on her tombstone you can still see a depiction of the monster.

This is the story of Dobar Cú, the man continued. But there is another and more important aspect of the beast. He lives inside you, the man said, pointing at me. At some point in life you will wander through your own underworld, and there you will meet him, at the gates of your private darkness. You have to get past him and the only way is to accept his existence, to befriend him.

During this time, a lot of misery happened in my private life. Despair, illness and death ravaged my immediate family. I realized after the visit to Sligo that I was actually right now walking through my own private underworld.

The film Dobar Cú describes this underground journey. It is filmed through simple photographic cardboard backdrops, in a single slow forward motion, in my studio.

Prod. format Generic HD-video
Duration 00:10:05
Color Color
Year 2014
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About the artist

Johan Thurfjell

Lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Johan Thurfjell received his MFA at the University College of Art Craft & Design in Stockholm in 2002. Since then he has participated in several group exhibitions both in Sweden and abroad. He has had solo exhibitions at Natalia Goldin gallery in Stockholm, Galerie Nordenhake in Berlin and at 16:1 gallery in Los Angeles. He has received a number of prizes and grants in Sweden.

Johan Thurfjell works in many different medias and materials. His body of work contains everything from drawings and objects to computer generated images, animation and video. One of his most spread work is the animated short film ‘Do you have the Shine?’ from 2002. It has been shown at a number of film festivals throughout the world. It received the Mention Spéciale ~ Prix Court-métrage Kodak at the Luxembourg International Film festival in 2004 and was one of Sweden’s five contributions to the film festival in Cannes 2003.