Period & Style
The Poetics of Anxiety and Melancholia
Selected by David Gryn, Director and Founder of Artprojx.
Jesper Just was born in 1974 in Copenhagen. He graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2003, and currently lives and works in New York. His work is represented in major public collections such as the Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art and Tate Modern.
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 The videos draw on a wide net of cultural, artistic and film-historical references, as well as - and not least - on certain social conventions.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.
No Man Is an Island
JOHANNES LILLE ØRE
Courtesy: James Cohan Gallery, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, and Galleri Nicolai Wallner.
Copyright © Jesper Just 2002
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