This Unknown Spectacle
From October 22nd 2011 to February 5th 2012

A word from the Exhibition Curator

“… so what actually happened last year? Here are some questions which you, as spectators, will have to answer. Be attentive, an object, a gesture, a decor, an attitude, the smallest detail is important. For the first time in cinema, you are the film’s co-writer, using the images you see you’ll create the story yourself, appropriating your sensitivity, your personality, your mood, your past life. It’s up to you to decide if this image, or that one, represents a truth or a lie, it it’s real or imaginary, if it represents the present or the past … you will be given all these elements and then it’s in your hands.”

Extract from the trailer for the movie “L’année dernière à Marienbad” Alain Resnais, 1961

Jesper Just’s films distil a disturbing ambiance. They all involve irresolute singularity, shifting cinema codes and techniques in the field of so-called plastic art, manipulating and playing with narrative codes and other gender conventions, dragging us into a suspended universe where fantastical mechanics are working full force.

The starting point in his films is usually the coupling of facts, places, situations, anecdotes, etc. Fairly short, they concentrate on multiple interpretations without ever having them unravelled. His films are marked by deeply melancholic impressions, although not lacking in second degree humour. Incredibly dream-like, they reach a sort of relative and emotional interpretation in the eyes of each spectator.

Packed with references, his films unfold riffled images where succession sculpts time and wonderfully plays out the narrative pact.

Between realism and mental constructions, Jesper Just’s movies stage emotions, psychological states, individual relationships, and situation. Decors, objects, soundtracks all become figures in themselves. The music, recalling images of Bollywood cinema, comments and extends what we unfailingly refer to as intrigue. Looks and gestures constitute elements of a well-rehearsed vocabulary where framing and editing become operators of an integral coveting mechanism where the body is core. Clichés shatter, questioning the idea itself of representation, beckoning us to voyage beyond the mirror and behind the smoke screen of appearances.

For this first monographic exhibit in a French museum, we wanted to accompany the new and central-part production “This Unknown Spectacle” (2011), with a set of five movies, thus allowing for a better awareness of Jesper Just’s universe.

Frank Lamy
Exhibition Curator