The Danish Arts Council presents Jesper Just’s multi-channel filmic odyssey and architectural intervention for the Danish Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, June 1–November 24, 2013. Collaborating with Project Projects (New York), a graphic design studio, the project will integrate film, digital communications, and the Danish Pavilion’s physical space.
Renowned Danish artist Jesper Just will present a film project that will examine themes of architectural pastiche and cultural dislocation for the Danish Pavilion. Commissioned by the Danish Arts Council, Just’s contribution will consist of five films played simultaneously in a looped format as part of one singular, cyclical narrative. The films weave together a depiction of what appears to be Paris due to certain architectural signifiers, but then assumptions are challenged as the landscape becomes uncanny.
Key to all of Jesper Just’s films is the question of representation. How do we create images? And how do these images, in turn, conjure ideas, expectations, and conventions?
In addition to the films, Just will create an architectural intervention on the Pavilion, integrated with the film installation, based on the paradoxical mismatch of the Danish Pavilion’s 1930s neoclassical architecture and its 1960s modernist addition.
An accompanying communications system developed by design studio Project Projects will allow people to experience the pavilion outside of Venice and create a mirrored experience in parallel with Just’s project.
The project is funded by the Danish Arts Council. The project has received additional support from Nørgaard på Strøget, Copenhagen. Jesper Just’s film project is co-produced by Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen.
About Jesper Just
Jesper Just was born in Copenhagen in 1974, and he attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art. He currently lives and works in New York.
Recent solo exhibitions include Jesper Just: This Nameless Spectacle (2012), University of Michigan Museum of Art (Ann Arbor, Michigan); Galleri Nicolai Wallner (Copenhagen); and James Cohan Gallery (New York); and Jesper Just: Sirens of Chrome (2011), MobileArtProduction (Stockholm). Recent group exhibitions include No Object is an Island: New Dialogues with the Cranbrook Collection (2011), Cranbrook Art Museum (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan); Time and Place (2011), Inaugural Exhibition, Kunsthalle Detroit (Detroit, Michigan); and Intermission (2011), James Cohan Gallery (New York).
Just’s work is featured in many public collections, including Arario Gallery (Korea), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Musée d’Art Moderne (Luxembourg), Tate Modern (London), and many others. He is also the proud recipient of the Arken Prize Travel Grant (2009), and the Carnegie Art Award (2008) (2nd prize).
Jesper Just is represented by James Cohan Gallery, New York; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen; and Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
About The Danish Arts Council and la Biennale di Venezia
The Danish Arts Council Committee for International Visual Arts has responsibility for Denmark’s participation in la Biennale di Venezia. Denmark has taken part in the exhibitions of la Biennale di Venezia since 1895, and its participation is financed with funds from the Danish Arts Council. The Danish Arts Council Committee for International Visual Arts consists of Jette Gejl Kristensen (chairman), Lise Harlev, Jesper Elg, Mads Gamdrup, Lise Harlev, and Anna Krogh.
About Project Projects
Project Projects is a design studio focusing on print, exhibition, identity, and interactive work with clients in art and architecture, in addition to independent curatorial and publishing projects. Founded in 2004 in New York, the studio is led by principals Prem Krishnamurthy, Adam Michaels, and Rob Giampietro.
Project Projects is a two-time Finalist in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards and has received numerous distinctions, including grants from the Graham Foundation and NYSCA for its independent projects.
Image: Jesper Just, Untitled, 2013. Film still.
“No Man Is An Island” by Jesper Just
In No Man Is an Island a middle-aged man dances to the melancholy tones of a sad waltz on inner-Copenhagen’s Blågårds Plads. In spite of his awkwardness, there is a certain grace to the man’s movements. On a bench a young man sits, weeping. Is he weeping over his own fortune, or is it because the other man’s dance evokes a mood of pity in him?
These are just glimpses of a scene from Jesper Just’s video No Man is an Island, a title that captures the essence of Just’s early works; works which emphasize that men do not live in vacuous isolation, but in a dialogical state, in a context of social reciprocity with other men. The videos draw on a wide net of cultural, artistic and film-historical references, as well as – and not least – on certain social conventions.
An essential commonality throughout Just’s work is the question of representation, understood as the manner in which we create images – and how those images, in turn, conjure ideas, expectations and conventions. One could say that to Just, what’s interesting about representation is that it never merely represents. Rather, it actively performs.
Jesper Just and Dorit Chrysler: This nameless spectacle (live)
Stage performance by Danish video artist Jesper Just (b. 1974) and Austrian composer/musician Dorit Chrysler who plays theremin, an early electronic musical instrument controlled without discernible physical contact from the player.
Jesper Just’s two-channel work ‘This Nameless Spectacle’ (2012) takes its title from American poet William Carlos Williams’ poem ‘The Right of Way’. In this poem Williams describes the fascination with which we observe anonymous actions, the “nameless spectacles” which surround us every day, everywhere. In the film, Just tracks his two protagonists through Paris’ famous Buttes Chaumont park.
The action is mirrored and split between the two screens, bouncing from one to the other. This choreography is intended to wholly envelop the viewer in both the imagery and the narrative, simultaneously rendering the viewer a witness and an important player in the action.