Since beginning to work with film and video in 2000, Jesper Just (b. Denmark, 1974) has created a boldly stylized body of work that straddles the boundaries between performance art, installation, and cinema. Just's work challenges conventional views of gender and sexuality, blurs the line between fantasy and reality, and, like the work of Michaelangelo Antonioni, explores the intense psychological (dis)connect between body and space. His protagonists navigate both highly aestheticized interiors marked with expressionistic shadows, and lush, naturalistic exteriors. Like Maya Deren in At Land, these characters are physically, emotionally, and psychologically alienated from the world around them. Conventional gender roles and notions of behavior are the true villains in Just's work; his heroes are those who are able—however momentarily—to overcome their inhibitions and turn repressive environments into highly emotive performance spaces.
Justs latest trilogy of films, A Voyage in Dwelling, A Room of One's Own, and A Question of Silence (all 2008), illustrate his expanding artistic vision. In contrast to his earlier, stand-alone pieces, this narrative cycle is linked by the female protagonist's journey through incessantly mutating spaces, culminating in an ecstatic moment of self-discovery. With these films, Just continues to expand the boundaries of his style, his lucid imagery floating further into the realm of dreamscape. MoMA presents the world premiere of the full trilogy in a theatrical setting. Followed by a discussion with the artist led by Giuliana Bruno, professor of visual and environmental studies at Harvard University. Bruno's book Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (Verso, 2002) won the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for "world's best book on the moving image." Her Streetwalking on a Ruined Map (Princeton University Press, 1993) won the Kovács prize for best book in film studies. Her latest book is Public Intimacy: Architecture and the Visual Arts (MIT Press in 2007).
In the Film exhibition Modern Mondays
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