The Shaman rabbit jumps before you, reaching for a bite. Up the stairs you go, put your head in a pot. Enter the dark and you will see light.
European artistic duo, Nathalie Djuberg and Hans Berg, are currently showcasing their first southern hemisphere exhibition, The Secret Garden, at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in association with Perth International Arts Festival. When entering the main gallery space, one is instantly taken by the ritualistic music that echoes throughout PICA. Its energetic synthesized notes are perfectly in sync with the delirious rabbit’s sprightly bounces. The hypnotic percussion of the music invites viewers to lose their sense of reality as they move further into the installation space. From golden bells to curling lights, these sculptural elements extracted from the film are enchanting, tangible additions to the animation’s hallucinogenic fantasies.
Djuberg and Berg’s new installation works reflect a collaborative success, tying together their recent explorations of abstract existentialist themes. Their creation process has become unified, producing one work of art. Originally, Djuberg would create her Claymation film first and Berg would then compose music for it, either easing or intensifying the experience of watching her explicit art. In The Secret Garden, they’ve built upon the gruesome, political and bewildering visions of exploitation depicted in their past Claymation films, and their dark presence is bound to shape a memorable experience, possibly even mentally disturbing and overpowering the viewer’s experience of The Secret Garden.
Located on the first floor, Fever Dreams, The Black Pot and Gas Solid Liquid were built around Djurberg’s exploration of “creating something out of nothing”. As a result, these installations imbue visceral and sublime narratives of a calming nature. They are strongly immersive installations that combine illustrative styles and atmospheric soundscape, depicting visions of the subconscious and the beginning of our universe. In particular, The Black Pot provides a full-bodied, panoramic experience of the artistic duo’s initial journey towards abstraction. Glowing rings of vibrant colour pop, pinch and twirl across the void, as waves of solid colour tear apart. These sensorial animations conjure up existential feelings in a bubbling cauldron of thought. Who knows what it means to be in The Black Pot and stare at dancing shapes on a sunny afternoon. On the whole, I’d say it was enlightening.
Words by Gabby Loo
The Secret Garden is a free event running until 24 April at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts – take a wander through it while you can, but I’ll honestly say beware of Gallery 3 if you have a sensitive heart.