Nathalie Djurberg's claymation films are sweet, depraved things that can shock, amuse and confound in equal measure. Her Plasticine fairytale characters recall nursery days: wolves, snakes and monkeys share the screen with naughty schoolchildren, as well as grownup men and women of all shapes and sizes. But the Freudian skits they perform are seriously X-rated. They generally include bestiality, group sex, sadism and dismemberment, all set to chipper, percussive tunes created by the artist's boyfriend and collaborator,techno producer Hans Berg.
Born in 1978, the Swedish, Berlin-based artist is something of a workaholic, turning out tens upon tens of animations in her apartment-cum-studio. She made her mark at the 2006 Berlin Biennale with Tiger Licking Girl's Butt, a parable of sexual compulsion in which a large beast repeatedly does just what the title suggests in a chintzy bedroom. By the time she was awarded the Silver Lion for most promising young artist at the 2009 Venice Biennale, her work had become larger and more involved, spilling out from the screen into the gallery.
The gong-winning installation, Experiment, is a menacing Garden of Eden whose monster flora run the colour spectrum from vein blue to liver brown, pulsing orange and the softest membrane pink. These varnished blooms – which resembled genitalia, internal organs or the pods in Ridley Scott's Alien – filled the space where a trio of animation videos were screened. In one, a woman's limbs pull her own body apart, while another features two nude twins who run rings around bishops in full regalia before affectionately peeling off each other's skin.
Such scenes progress haltingly: they're animated using old-fashioned stop-motion techniques. Djurberg doesn't work with a finished script either; she prefers to let her weird dramas unfold intuitively. Moving beyond general ideas of right and wrong, she taps into human impulses that can't be reasoned away, with victims and predators both shedding tears and swapping roles as the violent, sexual antics play out on a curiously even keel.