Photo: Benoit Pailley
For this edition, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg have, for the first time, fused Djurberg’s video and her sculpture into one object. The edition has been cast in polyurethane plastic from a Styrofoam sculpture of an ice cream box with a separate lid, handmade by the artist, and each is slightly unique. The surface of the plastic is white and slightly transparent, surreal and otherworldly. Djurberg has created a new stop-motion animation film, unique to this edition, which plays on a continual loop on a monitor imbedded inside the ice cream box, as the musical score by her collaborator Berg plays from speakers, also within the box.
In Djurberg’s words, she wanted to create a universe that “a person’s head would fit, so that you don’t just look inside, but get to be inside; like falling down the rabbit hole… [casting the viewer] in space, in a sort of cosmic dance, from mundane to super-mundane, and when you take out your head from the box, you can put your whiskey glass on top of it, and forget that you have the universe next to you.”
The ice cream cones depicted in the film are constructed by hand from plasticine and clear polythene, and are reminiscent of the flowers in Djurberg’s film for Venice, The Experiment (2009). The artist has replaced her oft-depicted interior stage sets with a flat black background. The highly colorful concoctions exhibit humor and pathos, as they ooze, drip, and float, seemingly a nod to Morris Louis, an artist who is a professed inspiration for Djurberg. Long pink tongues occasionally lick the ice creams, hands reach in with knives to cut the ice cream, and there is a psychedelic play of shape and color as the ice creams dance and drop from an imaginary sky, pulsing all the while to Berg’s hypnotic music. Licking, scooping, and cutting are consistent themes in Djurberg’s work, as seen in films such as Tiger Licking Girl’s Butt (2004), which displays the inherent properties of Djurberg’s malleable and childlike medium of clay plasticine. The ice creams in Things Cut in Half and Split in Two are stand-ins for human flesh. Djurberg reminds us of the psychosexual underpinnings and fantasies that are an inescapable part of our being, and the associations we bring even to something as seemingly innocuous as ice cream. Once again, through her profound artworks, Djurberg forces us to reconsider the lens through which we see the world and ourselves.
Things Cut in Half and Split in Two, 2013
Polyurethane plastic with embedded electronics
16 × 12 × 18 (40.6 × 30.5 × 45.7 cm)
Edition of 20
Produced by Lisa Ivorian-Jones for the New Museum