Step into the dreamlike, animated worlds of Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, with sculpture, music and moving images. Their playfully told fables convey humour and darkness and disable all moral laws of gravity. Take part of the internationally renowned duo’s stop motion films and spatial installations, and their brand new VR work.
The exhibition describes an inner voyage, an attempt to decipher existence in a flow of impulses and impressions. There is an element of seduction in the encounter with the works of Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg. They make us lower our guard, but then the mood intensifies, and we are torn from comfortable contemplation. These works capture extreme states – our deepest darkness and greatest euphoria.
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg create animated worlds with objects, sound and moving images – dreamlike realities where we can lose our way. Intense chamber pieces enact fragmentary memories repressed between innocence and shame. Feverish daydreams about role play and desire, with comedy and darkness, set to hypnotic music. The films topple accepted truths about man’s supremacy in nature and our habitual perceptions of memory, time and space. Embedded in these works is a burlesque social critique that – sometimes literally – undresses the men of power, given hierarchies and social norms.
A playful approach to desire and repulsion
Nathalie Djurberg sees herself primarily as a painter but often works with sculpture and spatial installations. For her video works she uses stop motion animation, where a series of stills combine to give the illusion of movement – a laborious process that requires total, protracted concentration. She works in close dialogue with Hans Berg, whose music adds further layers of meanings and moods. Their collaboration is intuitive, with no storyboards or pre-written scripts. The resulting works are profoundly original, with many links to other performing arts, film and painting, and a playful approach to both desire and revulsion in a grotesque tradition that was also sourced by the surrealists. There are parallels to Hieronymus Bosch’s fantasy scenes, to the controversial filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, or the powerful performances of Carolee Schneeman. But also to dark fairy tales, clubbing and popular culture.
The exhibition passes through different landscapes
This summer’s exhibition is the artists’ largest on the international art scene for more than a decade. They have described it as an inner voyage through chaos and confusion, or as “the attempt of an ego to find its way out of itself.” The exhibition moves through archetypal landscapes – the dark forest, the illuminated stage, the closed cave, and the sealed chamber. Confined spaces where painful or droll situations are enacted between characters who are often closely related to one another. The voyage meanders via labyrinthine subterranean worlds, up into light and air, only to delve back down into the shadows – through wallpapered rooms and tangled underbrush, coiling music loops and wormholes in time.
Large spatial installations and new works
The presentation includes spatial installations with music and moving images, including “The Parade”, “The Potato” and “The Experiment”, along with some 20 independent video works. Several entirely new pieces will also be shown – videos and sculptures, and the artists’ first virtual reality (VR) experience. The exhibition spills into a couple of rooms containing iconic works and rarely-shown pieces from the Moderna Museet collection of surrealism and Dada, selected by the curator Jo Widoff. Works created in another era, which nevertheless have similarities in approach, style and strategy.