Creative duo Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg discuss the feelings of shame, desire, happiness, and despair that go into making their clay-animation films and sculptures. Ultimately, the pair intend for their work to communicate the intersection of all these emotions—from joy to sorrow, fulfillment to disappointment, longing to repulsion—and that, as Djurberg puts it, "not one emotional state has ever lasted."
At her studio in Berlin, Djurberg handcrafts the intricate clay figures that comprise their 2019 exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York. Sculpting wolves, clowns, and skeletal half-human, half-animal figures for the films, Djurberg reflects on the process of bringing an idea from conception to execution—and the feelings of shame and disappointment that often accompany her. Meanwhile, Berg composes the music for their films, pushing the emotional tone of Djurberg’s creations. As figures claw at one another in the film, "How to Slay a Demon" (2019), Berg explains, "I wanted the music to be almost like the voice of addiction: very hypnotic, alluring, almost like a siren song luring you in." Blurring the line between desire and disgust, the final works are surreal, bawdy, and, at times, humorous explorations into the human subconscious.
Nathalie Djurberg was born in Lysekil, Sweden, in 1978. Hans Berg was born in Rättvik, Sweden, in 1978. Mixing sculpture, sound, and filmmaking, the duo has collaborated since 2004 to create absurd and bawdy clay-animation films and installations. Their work exposes an undercurrent of psychologically charged human and animalistic desires with the sweet veneer of a childhood fairytale.