Critics’ Picks

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Dark Side of the Moon, 2017, digital video, color, sound, 6 minutes 40 seconds.


Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg

Lisson Gallery | 27 Bell Street | London
27 Bell Street
March 31–May 6

References to sex pervade the culture, yet the intricacies of sexuality are deeply private. With their current exhibition here, “Who Am I to Judge, or, It Must be Something Delicious,” Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg upend this space with a joyous, dreamlike anxiety that’s suffused with the scatological, sensuous, and phallic.

The exhibition’s titular sculptural installation, 2017, features cartoonish characters made of silicone and resin upon a raised platform, engaging in orgiastic debauchery. Spindly-armed acorns wrestle with a red-nosed banana; anthropomorphic turds weep aqua-blue tears; a cotton-candy-pink My Little Pony lies on its back, tossing a jubilant, big-bottomed moon into the air with its hooves. The piece has three turntables—each one plays a record with various instrumental tracks and sound effects (Djurberg is responsible for the visuals; Berg, the audio work). We are wrapped up within a rich sonic atmosphere.

Some of the show’s creatures reappear in a trio of stop-motion animations. Worship, 2016, references the gnarlier aesthetics of contemporary hip-hop—it gives us oiled-up dancers writhing upon jewel-encrusted corncobs to throbbing rhythms. Delights of an Undirected Mind, 2016, meanders through more Freudian terrain, where tigers, wolves, and a sloppy condensed-milk can—continually spilling its creamy-white contents—take part in a raucous tea party in a child’s bedroom. The subtlest of the grouping is Dark Side of the Moon, 2017, depicting a girl wandering through the forest at night, recalling fairy-tale scenarios. It is a narrative of innocence, fascination, and mischievousness, haunted by woodland noises. Djurberg and Berg connect the darkness and all of its intoxicating wonders to our most hidden desires.