NATHALIE DJURBERG & HANS BERG: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON: STAVANGER ART MUSEUM (MUST), STAVANGER, NORWAY
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg have developed their artistic practice as a team for the last 10-15 years. Their works are characterized by a belief in the psychological power of figurative and narrative art. They combine music, sculpture and film into evocative worlds charged with possible meanings.
The exhibition Dark Side of the Moon presents works made from 2014 to 2017. During this period, the artists have held several large exhibitions and developed their forms of interaction into seamless dialogues between music and visual elements. Nathalie Djurberg creates sculpture and animations, and Hans Berg composes music. In the animated films, the music either supports or refuses to follow the action, but either way, creates exciting effects. In the large installations, the soundscape plays a decisive role in our experience of the space.
Essential to the experience of Djurberg and Berg’s art are stop-motion animation films. These are laborious and time-consuming to produce. Djurberg has said that animation as a form of expression now seems like second nature; it gives her the possibility to work closely and intuitively with the development of a narrative. The pliable material gives her the possibility to visualize grotesque elements, since the consistency and visual qualities of the clay can easily evoke the illusion of soft, flesh-like or liquid substances. Djurberg explores these possibilities to the fullest, often allowing the figures and elements to change character or be transformed into new figures and dream-like sequences.
The material choices enable us to understand the works in many ways, but figurative aspects also offer an approach to interpretation and recognition. Some elements are from the world of fairy tales, some figures suggest cartoon series, or there are figures and scenarios that can remind us of the visual language of music videos. The works can be said to relate to universal themes, for example jealousy, revenge, greed and desire, and humorous elements go hand-in-hand with the grotesque and transgressive. Traditional gender roles are challenged and established power structures are inverted.
The works of art in this exhibition can trigger associations to surrealist explorations of the subconscious, expressive artists’ intuitive work processes and figurative painters’ depictions of human psychological conditions as well as the external world. Considered together, Djurberg and Berg have developed a distinctive format that has been highly significant for a generation of younger artists.