Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg’s Surreal Meditation on Motherhood
Lust, loneliness and exhaustion: the artist duo speak us by way of their unusual and enchanting new LA exhibition, A Pancake Moon
The scrappy, lurid and fantastical world of Swedish artist duo animator and sculptor Nathalie Djurberg and musician Hans Berg is visited anew with A Pancake Moon – the artists’ first solo present in Los Angeles since 2008.
After a current collaboration with Miu Miu on a jewelry mission for Autumn/Winter 2022 (Miuccia Prada is a fierce champion of the pair, having proven their work at Fondazione Prada since 2008) and within the gentle of the Roe v Wade overturning earlier this 12 months, the pair’s investigation of our bodily autonomy plumbs additional depths. In a collaboration of Djurberg’s stop-motion animation and sculpture-filled immersive set up and Berg’s surreal soundscapes, dishevelled folkloric animals morph and meld in unsettling puddles of base feelings.
This time, past a lollipop vortex curtain is a forest of glass flora and putty fauna (together with poached eggs looming on chairs) the place the present’s central movie explores a playful metaphor for motherhood: a plasticine egg (filled with potential) engages in a push-and-pull dance with a ferocious bear and a wolf, each of whose love and want for the egg threatens to segue right into a carnivorous devouring. The egg turns into a moon (an orb-like being, its personal, “self-obsessed” planet) because it struggles with exhaustion and loneliness earlier than ultimately deflating into an empty pancake.
Absurd but enchanting, the delightfully disturbing setting enhances the artists’ well-loved, mysterious magic. Right here, the artists speak to Sophie Bew about their journey by way of the work.
Sophie Bew: How did this piece come about?
Nathalie Djurberg: I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
Hans Berg: No, and that’s why this was so troublesome, since you thought you’ll have a lot time and your child would simply lay nonetheless and watch you’re employed, and that didn’t actually occur.
ND: And that was the way it took place, I acquired myself pregnant, I used to be pregnant, after which I used to be pulled into myself once more and the way I used to be working.
SB: Are you able to speak us by way of the narrative a little bit? The symbolism of the egg-tuned-moon-turned-pancake as consultant of motherhood?
ND: The egg was the potential, the earlier than, and the moon was the being pregnant. It was humorous as a result of I had lately examine somebody being disgusted with the self-importance of pregnant girl, and that was precisely how I felt – amongst one million different extra uncomfortable issues – however the concept of being on a planet of your individual, self-absorbed, transferring and altering, untouchable.
Then I acquired actually silly, my thoughts imploded and I couldn’t bear in mind the tip of a sentence, what I used to be worrying about, and what the following step was. I grew to become a being, dwelling from second to second, and I might not have an clever dialog with anybody.
HB: The exhibition can also be a lot about management, the lack of management over your physique, or your perceived management. A number of the sculptures within the exhibition, that are wood-men with wood hard-ons, discover the bodily features that one can’t management, you simply sit and watch it occur to you. Generally these are connected to emotions of disgrace, particularly if it’s one thing thought-about inappropriate. Clearly I can’t hook up with the motherhood side of the work, however there are a lot of themes that apply to everybody.
SB: A type of devouring lustiness seems usually in your work – why do you assume that’s?
ND: As a result of there may be lust in so many elements of being, the physique lusts and so does the thoughts, if it’s not for intercourse it’s for alcohol, medication, fame, consolation, something. We’re like an empty pit, and the vacancy creates a way of missing, or not being sufficient. Naturally, we need to attempt to fill that gap with one thing. We regularly need the wanting itself, as a result of we’re so used to it, that to be with out it, we really feel vacancy. However intercourse, and lustiness in intercourse is what transfers finest within the animations, even one animation that isn’t essentially about lust for me, can use the identical language, to painting a unique type of lust.
SB: Would you describe lots of your works as private? Or common?
ND: Each. As a human I’m distinctive similar to everybody else. That’s the great thing about humanness and the language that displays on it. What I’ve skilled has been skilled by numerous others in a barely totally different, distinctive means. Experiencing one another’s perspective by way of artwork kinds, we’re in a position to visualise their expertise.
HB: Sure, it’s when you may hook up with the artwork on a private stage, that it turns into most fascinating.
SB: There’s a fairytale factor to the movie – balletic in locations – are you able to discuss that?
HB: I believe this usually comes from childhood reminiscences, and that’s the place we discover the core and our primary instincts being formed and shaped. For this we regularly refer again to the fairytale as a warning, a mirrored image, a perspective, which we will all recall, or understand.
SB: Your work usually performs on the graphic, visceral nature of impulses and feelings – how did this turn into your language?
ND: As soon as I discovered animation, I felt it was my medium immediately, within the sense that I fully gave up discovering different methods of expression. I simply stored on animating and discovering new methods to do it and thru that self-learning technique of the medium. It was within the psychology and emotion of the method, which I’ve now executed for therefore lengthy that I can’t distinguish the perimeters. It simply is, and couldn’t come out totally different,and that’s the reason it really works so effectively to work with Hans as a result of he grew to become a musician in the identical means.
HB: Sure, my music is usually a direct emotional response to the movies, sculptures or simply by itself. I’ve realized easy methods to fine-tune that response, a self-learning course of similar to Nathalie, however the authentic supply continues to be the identical, it’s my language, and the way I categorical finest. We each work naturally and intuitively.
SB: What about your influences and coaching have led you to your distinctive aesthetic and sound? And the way do you describe it to anybody unfamiliar together with your work?
HB: Preferences. Mainly preferences are what the ego is made out of, what makes us us. So from every part that we encounter, the issues that we like stick, affect us and slip into our minds after which out by way of our personal work. Subsequently it’s actually onerous to explain it to anybody unfamiliar with the work, as a result of to us it appears so pure and simply the way in which we expect and work, we don’t have any outdoors perspective so it’s troublesome to explain.
SB: Why do you assume you might be each drawn to the mediums you employ?
HB: I can categorical myself effortlessly with music. I’ve tried different mediums however that is the easiest way for me to each obtain and provides, to attach on the deepest stage. And digital music as a result of, alone in my studio, I could make a bit that fills up the entire audible sound spectrum, from the deepest basses that basically shake your physique, to the best tones. I take advantage of digital devices to sculpt the sound in a really visceral means.
ND: In animation I haven’t got to have one picture stand by itself however I can work with what occurs. I’m spellbound by the life the animation takes on by itself. Regardless that I made sculpture earlier than beginning animation, it was animation that made me discover goal in sculpture as soon as extra.
SB: Nathalie, are you able to discuss why the physique is so necessary to your work? Why are you interested by physicality in the way in which you might be?
ND: We’re bodily, that’s how we expertise the world. And what’s onerous to digest, for us, will get caught within the physique as trauma and the thoughts takes over telling the story of it. In making the artwork, I’m as soon as extra re-experiencing and experiencing what I wasn’t conscious of earlier than, enjoying it out and seeing it by way of the lens of fantasy and riddle.
SB: How will viewers expertise watching it within the present?
ND: Nevertheless they are going to, there isn’t a controlling an expertise in one other individual and now we have no real interest in attempting to make somebody expertise a selected factor, however we might hope there’s a resonance with those that see it, that it strikes a be aware or recognition or a whisper, like a secret.
A Pancake Moon by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg is on at at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in LA till 21 January 2023.