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New season – New highlights: Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg

”One Last Trip to The Underworld (Strawberry Red and Blue)”

Djurberg and Berg are counted amongst Europe’s best and most unique artists. Djurberg creates stop-motion animations that musician and composer Berg, sets to music, in a close collaboration that began about fifteen years ago. Videos, spatial installations and sculptures form the foundation of their work. The relationship between humans, animals and forces of nature is the constant, vibrant theme that occupies their shared universe.

The duo’s work contains a large amount of dark humour as well as references to popular culture and art history. Berg’s hypnotic music evocatively emphasises the various emotional states, propelling the story forward. The characters’ sense of isolation is clear – they often project a kind of loneliness, have low self-esteem or a distorted self-image, and looks or behaviours that aren’t usually socially accepted.

The suffering, the inertia, the anger and the sadness – it is all a reflection of the artist herself, even if the events and the characters aren’t autobiographical. As the stories generally tend not to have a clear beginning or an end they are left open to interpretation. Perhaps something happens in a parallel world that changes the ending of the video, or lets it begin where the previous one ended? The films are often about daring to face your nightmares or fears, and having the courage to see what can come out of those encounters.

Signed certificate included in lot. Executed in 2019. Spray paint on epoxy putty, steel and wood. The height of the sculpture: 72 cm, inc. the blue base 93 cm. A white podium (h: 51 cm) and plexi glass box (h: 105.5 cm) also included in lot.

The world is in constant transformation in Djurberg’s videos. Bodies lose their shapes and acquire new ones in complicated and grotesque metamorphoses. The boundary between animal and human is fluid – they move in the same worlds. The narrative technique is reminiscent of classic children’s stories. At first glance the films appear to follow a traditional narrative, but then surprise the viewer by turning into something completely unexpected. The characters, through instinctive actions, affirm and explore their sexuality and bestiality.

Ann McCoy writes in her review of the exhibition “Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg: One Last Trip to The Underworld” in The Brooklyn Rail:

”These sculptural takes on Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) (1857), are more modelled and polished than the figures in the videos, and have an atelier produced feel. This is a dark version of the Garden of Eden, like the one in Tennessee Williams’s play Suddenly Last Summer (1958), where all of the plants were carnivorous and consumed live flesh.”

To be sold at Contemporary Art & Design April 26

Viewing April 21 – 25, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Open Weekdays 11 am – 6 pm, helger 11 am – 5 pm
Auction Live April 26, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm

Read more about the auction

Djurberg & Berg’s solo show at the Kunsthalle Luzern, Switzerland will open to the public this April, followed by a solo presentation at Musée d’Art Contemporain in Lyon, France in 2023.

The artist's works are represented in the collections of Fondazione Prada, Milan; Goetz Collection, Munich; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Kunsthaus Züruch, Zürich; and Whitechapel, London, among others.

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