Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg

Nathalie Djurberg on stage with Hans Berg and Laura Albans, Curatorial Assistant at the BMA.

In May, I went to one of the Art After Hours evening events at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It was during the Surrealism Show. I attended the artist talk by Nathalie Djurberg and her partner, Hans Berg. Nathalie is a self-taught animator, and Hans is a composer specializing in non-vocal, psychedelic electronic music.

Nathalie talked a lot about the importance of process – process as being more important than the finished work. She doesn’t plan too far ahead, and just makes the work.

“The art itself is the making of it,” she explained. “It doesn’t matter if it is even considered art. Art is the one space in society that’s free. Freedom in the studio. Craft is not even as important as the act of making.” The rules can be, should be, ignored here. It is the Joy of Making. She also talked about how, when workin in her animated world as the creator, she is the Goddess of that world, and is both the protagonist and the villain(s). In this way, she is free to experience all sides in the story. She is, perhaps, free to be the things that one cannot be in daily life.

Djurberg explores obsession, fantasy, and desire in her films. Uncensored, yet couched in absurd/Surrealist visual storytelling, I was moved by her honesty and depth of vision. She’s found a way to openly explore very private things (secrets), using her own language. I think this is something most artists strive to do.

Here are three excerpts from the films that were showing at the black box at the BMA. They are rough, from my phone, and incomplete. I just want to share a little of their style and approach.

They are:
Snake with a Mouth Sewn Shut, Or, This is a Celebration 2018
Delights of an Undirected Mind 2016
Dark Side of the Moon 2017

Here are a few things on YouTube, some in Swedish. Note: I hope these links are working as you read this – sometimes, permissions on the videos change, or they are removed from the Web host.

Art21.org has an excellent overview with these two, in English, that features lots of behind the scenes footage. Please take a look, it’s GREAT.