Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg "Whale in Armchair" from "Worship"
"Worship" was the first figurative video by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg after their abstract "Waterfall Variation" which they made in 2014. After roughly a decade of the most diverse puppet videos, they needed to do something else for a while and went into abstraction. To have a different kind of aesthetic and to literally "cleanse their minds”.
Since Nathalie Djurberg is a storyteller by nature, she had to eventually return to figuration and her characters and puppets. After that period of abstraction, Djurberg & Berg came out with "Worship", a very colourful and raunchy video reminiscent of MTV music videos from the late 90s (with a pimp whale as one of the main characters) and the complete opposite of the meditative, rather zen-like ”Waterfall Variation”. It was wild, loud and very hip hop!
The video has been shown in various exhibitions, among them the Neuer Kunstverein in Vienna, the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Mart in Rovereto and the Schirn in Frankfurt. "Worship" is also part of the Fondazione Prada's collection in Milan.
Laura Smith recenserar i ArtReviews sommarnummer 2017 utställningen ”Who am I to Judge, or, It Must be Something Delicious” på Lisson Gallery i London.
”… Worship (2016), the most explicit of the three works, explores the stereotypes and imagery associated with porn and sexual fetishisation. The eight-minute video presents a pageant of silicone women and men, dressed in sequins, velour or silk, who perform different erotic acts: grinding against a giant banana, squeezing a pink inflatable doughnut, twerking with a Siamese cat, writhing with a giant sequined fish or a giant sequined ice-lolly or gold and black motorbike or an aubergine on wheels… These figures strip, touch themselves and attempt to seduce the viewer, as a dark electro-pop score provides them with a rhythm to which to move.
Morality is missing, to varying degrees, across these works, which feel like an adventure within human nature’s most capricious and animalistic impulses. The creeping, climactic structure of the videos and the unapologetic transgressions of the exhibition’s opening tableau make us very aware of our own desires. But when coupled with the homemade style of the figures, the works manage to retain a sense of humanity. And while the characters might commit vulgar or sadistic acts, their violence is often presented alongside shame, and their cruelty coexists with the material tenderness of their making. Thereby asking us to provide a level of compassion, or even knowing complicity, to/with their actions – and thus reaffirming the very morality that is so lacking, to begin with.”
To "Whale in Armchair"
Browse other works by Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg
Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg have been exhibited widely together in group shows, including the 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy in 2009. Their work is featured in a number of collections around the world, i.e. 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 Zürich, Zürich; and Whitechapel, London, among others.
To be sold at Contemporary Art & Design
Viewing: 15 – 19 April, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm,
Open: Mon–Fri 11 AM – 6 PM, Sat–Sun kl 11 AM –5 PM
Auction: 20 April, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm