Artist. Hanna Antonsson. Photo:
Artist. Hanna Antonsson

Taxidermy is explored via birds, wings, and feathers, where parts of the bird are deconstructed and reanimated with moving electrical parts or as still sculptural pieces.

How has your background in Sweden influenced your artistic perspective?
I grew up in the countryside in a very dense forest part of Sweden, surrounded by many motorized vehicles and farm animals like cats, chickens, and goats. I was taught to treat animals and nature with love, warmth, and respect from an early age, and that will always be the basis for both me and my work. When I take a step back and look at what I do now, I can also tell that I use a very typical Scandinavian aesthetic, void of strong colors and a coldness to the materials. Right now, we only have about six hours of „daylight“ in Sweden due to winter, which I think affects everyone growing up here to the core, and that also shows in what we put out. As I often work with putting odd objects together into these hybrids, I think these opposites, warm and cold, also make sense and speak for me as an artist.

What draws you to exploring animals‘ perspective, symbolism, and presence in myths and everyday life?
I have a childish love for and fascination with animals. They are mysterious, beautiful, and, in every way, better than us humans. Birds became my thing since that’s the animal I most commonly saw dead on the streets after I did my taxidermy training, and they are a constant source of inspiration for me. A lot of the work is about the causes of why these birds have died, and in that way, it sparks a conversation about animal rights and technology versus nature. When I work in my studio, I do a lot of „live sketching,“ where I put the bird wings on random objects lying around and, in that way, discover mythical winged beings and magical objects written about in old tales or something used as a logo for a company marketing their speedy transport services. There is always something new to discover.

How do you create your work? Could you share more about the process behind it?
I receive a lot of texts from friends saying, „Hi, I walked past this,“ accompanied by a photo of a dead bird along with a pinned location, so I always carry a plastic bag with me to scoop up roadkill. It goes in the freezer until I have figured out what to do with it. If you want to see behind the scenes the actual taxidermy process, I created a digital zine about it here: I then spend a lot of time sketching out where wings should go and what story I want to tell. Inspired by the actual bird individual itself, the objects I have in the studio (I collect scraps), and often with surrealist references. I also spend a lot of time trying out different motors and movements for my sculptures, programming, and testing what feels and looks the best.

HannaAntonsson_Brushed asphalt, 2023_05
HannaAntonsson, Brushed asphalt, 2023

How do you spend your free time?
I spent the whole summer sick and bought myself a Nintendo Switch to cheer me up. I recently discovered the Legend of Zelda, and now all I want to do is spend time in Hyrule. I haven’t been gaming since I was a kid, so it’s like rediscovering an old part of myself.

Do you read a lot of books? If so, what are you currently reading?
I pick up a lot of classics. I read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley a while ago, since it was an obvious reference to my art practice, and I loved it. This story about a misunderstood lonely monster not even loved by its creator has also been constantly reproduced the wrong way in popular culture like it’s a curse. I strongly recommend reading it to get the real story that Shelly wanted to convey. I got a book about the history of pigeons for Christmas and am looking forward to reading it!

Hanna Antosson, Siren I, digital photography, print on archival paper, 50 x 70 cm
Hanna Antosson, Siren I, digital photography, print on archival paper, 50 x 70 cm

Do you already have any plans for 2024?
I do. I’m going to Tokyo in January to work on an exhibition together with Taiki Yokote for a month. I’ve never visited Japan, and I’m excited for that. I’m also taking part in the Dark Rooms project in Berlin, where I and nine other artists are showing work in the tower of an old car factory that hasn’t been used in 100 years. Go see it if you can!

Hanna Antonsson –,