12 Studies on Shit

  • Artist: Bodil Furu
  • Creation date: 2006-2007
  • Object type: Video art

Not on display


Archaeologists often use the waste of earlier cultures to help reveal how people lived throughout history. A similar interest in such waste, both civilizational and bodily, underpins Bodil Furu’s art, in which she explores waste as a source of information about present-day thinking and ideals. By means of twelve episodic short films, all of which relate to muck and filth, Furu discusses contemporary attitudes and lifestyles that focus on the pure, the efficient, and the external.

We live at a time when consumption trumps needs. This leads to waste piling up as an omnipresent danger both to our hyper-controlled self-image and to the very survival of nature. In this video, Furu encounters several workers whose job is to deal with waste and excrements, and she also explores how the private body is cleaned: we see for example the artist when she goes to a colonic cleansing, and we meet someone with a colostomy bag. Sewage and space debris are also explored within a wider perspective – we are simply unable to get rid of our garbage. Such filth bothers us as a tabooed and structural problem.

12 Studies on Shit includes the digestive system in a critical examination of such fundamental issues as globalization and representation. In her art, which is based on thorough research and interviews, Furu closes in on a reality that seems both realistic and authentic. Using the documentary genre in a wide sense, Furu combines the form and methods of traditional documentaries with fictive elements, where the various topics are subject to open reflection.

Furu trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo.

Text: Line Ulekleiv

From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0


Bodil Furu

Visual artist

Born 1976

Work info

Creation date:
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
  • Height: 27 min
  • 3+AP
Kjøpt 2007
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
© Furu, Bodil/BONO