Music by Hans Berg
Snakes knows it’s Yoga
5 March–1 May 2011Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
NL-3015 CX Rotterdam
Djurberg and Berg have created an installation for the 1,500m2 of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s spacious Bodon Gallery. The ‘Snakes knows it’s Yoga’ installation is composed of 42 sculptures set on wooden bases in Plexiglas display cases, which are illuminated by coloured fluorescent tubes. These displays are flanked by projected animations and the air is filled with experimental music by Hans Berg. Alongside their most recent work they are screening ten films from the period 2004 to the present.
The Swedish artist Nathalie Djurberg (b. 1978) is best known for her animated films. These may seem sweet and innocuous on first acquaintance, but in her work Djurberg addresses themes such as obsession, power, pleasure, desire and violence. In her films she creates animated, surrealistic ‘fables’. Her world involves clichéd fairytales that derail into a battleground filled with death, sex and violence. In ‘Snakes knows it’s Yoga’, Djurberg explores the fear of death. In one of the films a naked young woman plays the lead role, going on an ecstatic dance with a colourful frog. She tries to lick the poisonous frog in order to reach higher spheres, like a shamanistic ritual. In another film a snake hypnotises a skinny man who is meditating, eventually overpowers this yogi and tears him apart.
Nathalie Djurberg creates her world using stop-motion, a labour-intensive technique that involves building up the film shot by shot. Made of coloured clay, the figurines are remodelled into a new pose for each shot, resulting in a jolty animation with a shaky backdrop and visible supporting threads. Imperfections in the plasticine of the figurines and linguistic errors in the texts are left uncorrected, which makes the surreal films by Djurberg more vulnerable and more human.
Colour, light and music
In this first major overview of her work it is not only the films but also the colourful lighting that are important elements. Hans Berg’s music serves as a guideline for the audience. His experimental compositions provide an added layer that allows the viewer to more easily identify with the lead character(s) in Djurberg’s animations.
Djurberg & Berg
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg live and work in Berlin. Djurberg studied at the Malmö Art Academy. The Swedish composer Hans Berg produces experimental soundtracks for Djurberg’s films. They have staged solo presentations at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2009), the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Prada Foundation in Milan (2008) and Kunsthalle Wien (2007). Their work can be found in the collections of institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Moderna Museet (Stockholm) and the Sprengel Museum (Hanover). Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg won the Silver Lion for best young artist at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has its own video channel on the internet: arttube.boijmans.nl. A video portray of Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg will be streamed at arttube.boijmans.nl and will be part of the exhibition.
The ‘Snakes knows it’s Yoga’ exhibition is being organised in conjunction with the kestnergesellschaft in Hanover and the Kunstforeningen GL Strand in Copenhagen. A jointly published catalogue is available from the museum shop (ISBN 978-3-86984-198-4).
Note for editors
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Courtesy Nathalie Djurberg, Prada Collection, Galleria Giò Marconi, Milan & Zach Feuer Gallery, New York © Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg.