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Sex, Drugs, and Gumby: Art Basel Gets an Orgy of Weird Silicone Dolls

This raunchy installation is the Art Basel equivalent of 'Robot Chicken.'

by Beckett Mufson
Dec 1 2016, 8:00pm

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable

It's bedlam at Art Basel. Rats are everywhere—one is hitting on a balloon—the bananas are on drugs, and a chocolate bar's head has exploded. Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg have been making depraved claymation films together since 2004, but their Gumby-like installation at the Giò Marconi booth, Some Boundary Transgressed, concentrates all the drama of a feature into a single moment.

Some Boundary Transgressed overflows onto a 400 cm2 dais covered in shin-high silicone figurines acting, well, transgressive. At a glance the rats, cucumbers, pegasi, and cheese chunks look like children's toys á la Toy Story, but a deeper look reveals very adult themes. There's anatomically vague sex, drugs (judging by the banana's blood red eyes), and there's rock n' roll, courtesy of three record players blasting custom compositions by Berg. Those who have seen the Berlin-based duo's 2004 film Tiger Licking Girl's Butt won't be surprised that the ambient sound mixes upbeat music with pornographic moaning that triggers the instinct to slam a laptop shut. 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Djurberg and Berg's films and installations constantly toe the line between awareness and unawareness of life's naughty bits. Some Boundary Transgressed is filled with so many ambiguous facial expressions, body language, and pop culture references that it's impossible to tell where the boundaries are and whether they've been violated. The child-friendly look that makes the installation so attractive is also what makes it repulsive, making it one of the more interesting things we've seen at Miami Art Week.

One thing that's not ambiguous is Djurberg and Berg's intention to shock. Even if the implied sex and bawdy sound effects go over your head, everyone can recognize a turd with legs. 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Some Boundary Transgressed, 2016. Installation with sound. Foil, wood, metal wire, epoxy resin, silicone, acrylic paint, paper, 3 record players, 4 speakers. Wooden platform: 20 x 400 x 400 cm. Dimensions variable 

See more of Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg's work here.

Related:

Claymation Rotoscoping Is Now a Thing—And It's Incredible

Hyperrealistic Sculptures Blur the Line Between Clay and Flesh

Anish Kapoor Sculpts New Paintings With Silicon