The BMA Presents Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg / Delights Of An Undirected Mind
First U.S. Museum Presentation of Recent Videos and Sculpture by Acclaimed Swedish Artists
The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg / Delights of an Undirected Mind, an exhibition of psychologically charged videos, sculpture, and immersive installations by the Berlin-based Swedish artists. Their captivating stop-motion animations embrace Surrealist themes—dreams, the subconscious, and the emotional and irrational—and convey both humor and darkness. This is the first U.S. museum presentation for each of these works. On view February 24–May 26, 2019, the exhibition is presented concurrently with Monsters & Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s.
“Djurberg and Berg’s fantastical videos probe our deepest fears and desires, while upending accepted truths about man’s supremacy in nature and our perceptions of memory, time, and space,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “The BMA is excited to introduce museum visitors to the work of these two exceptionally talented artists.”
Nathalie Djurberg, the driving force behind the creative duo, laboriously handcrafts elaborate environments and characters out of clay, foam, wire, fabric, and paint, resulting in a colorful and unrestrained aesthetic. Recognizing that sound was a critical element missing from her early works, in 2004 she began collaborating with Hans Berg—a successful Swedish composer, producer, recording artist, and house musician. The artists have collaborated ever since, creating dynamic installations and seductive sound pieces that have immense dimensionality and emotional impact.
Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg / Delights of an Undirected Mind includes three of the artists’ signature stop-motion animated films accompanied by a blend of psychedelic and techno music. These absurd fables involve seemingly innocent anthropomorphic figures that soon transform into ominous and sinister beings. Dark Side of the Moon (2017) is set in a forest clearing, where the desires of the characters—a smoking wolf, a young girl, an obese pig, and a prancing golf ball-like moon—revolve around a mysterious cabin where only the chosen few are allowed to enter. In Delights of an Undirected Mind (2016), a teenage girl with bright red lips wearing pajamas is featured in a bedroom filled with creatures resembling playful plush toys that behave like an erotically uninhibited menagerie. A tiger, octopus, crocodile, and other creatures play violent games interspersed with bottle feeding and tea parties. Snake With a Mouth Sewn Shut, or, This is a Celebration (2018) shows a small abandoned child and a mother dragon’s mental breakdown in a claustrophobic room. The text fragments in the film show their desperate outcries—perhaps one of the darkest and most personal films to date.
Djurberg and Berg’s vision of altered reality is also displayed through three large-scale installations. Gas, Solid, Liquid (2014) comprises 10 large ceramic vessels embedded with animation and a cacophony of music; The Gates of the Festival (2014) fills a gallery with neon lights, sound, and animations; and a selection of Surrealist-like sculptures, Donuts & Eggs (2013), are surrounded by the animated film The Black Pot (2013). The Black Pot is entirely abstract, with figures and scenes giving way to pulsating and morphing colors and shapes in a cyclical course where things arise and disappear, only to reappear in a new guise.
The exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator of European Painting & Sculpture Laura Albans.
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg Nathalie
Djurberg (born 1978) and Hans Berg (born 1978) currently live and work in Berlin, Germany. Born in Lysekil, Sweden, Djurberg received her MFA from Malmö Art Academy, Sweden, in 2002. Berg was born in Rättvik, Sweden, and is a musician, producer, and composer working mainly with electronic music. Their recent solo exhibition, A Journey Through Mud and Confusion with Small Glimpses of Air, opened at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden (2018), and is now on view at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto in Italy (2018), and will then travel to Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany (2019). Other solo exhibitions have been presented at Museum Frieder Burda | Salon Berlin, Germany (2017); Stavanger Art Museum, Norway (2017); Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australia (2016); Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Sammlung Goetz, Munich, Germany (2015); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2015); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2014); Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia (2013); New Museum, New York, NY (2012); Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2011); and The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2011). In 2009, Djurberg & Berg presented their installation The Experiment in Making Worlds at the 53rd Venice Biennial, where they were awarded the Silver Lion for Best Emerging Artists. They also received the Cairo Biennale Prize at the International Cairo Biennale in 2010 and the Premio Pino Pascali Award in 2012. Their work is featured in collections around the world, including the Prada Foundation in Milan, Italy, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg: Delights of an Undirected Mind is the first U.S. museum presentation of the artists’ work since 2012.