James Cohan Gallery is pleased to announce that New York-based, Danish artist Jesper Just will have a solo exhibition at the gallery in New York opening September 6th and running through October 27th. This is the artist’s first exhibition at James Cohan Gallery and the first solo exhibition in New York since his survey show at the Brooklyn Museum in 2008. The artist is well known for employing high production value cinematography to create film works that subvert the usual stereotypes that have come to be associated with Hollywood’s mainstream film industry.
The exhibition will mark the NY premiere of two important recent works: Sirens of Chrome (2010) filmed in Detroit and This Nameless Spectacle (2011) filmed in Paris. The artist is also producing a new work for the exhibition. Sirens of Chrome is a single channel video presentation to be installed in the gallery’s front space. As curator Jennifer Frias writes, “Known for his short cinematic videos, Just's works are often emotionally charged with ambiguous narratives that never reach a moment of conclusion. Gender, relationships and identity are recurring themes in his work. His previous works have explored the relationships between men while challenging prototypical masculine personae as typically represented in motion pictures and popular culture. Sirens of Chrome, similarly takes on the complexity of the human condition, but shifts its focus on the representation and interpretation of African-American women and women in general.”
Installed in the gallery’s main space, Just’s two-channel work This Nameless Spectacle 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. This Nameless Spectacle is presented on two massive panoramic screens that face each other. 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. Dependent on the viewers’ gaze and attention that focuses on the anonymous and nameless spectacle witnessed within the film, the story is complete. This Nameless Spectacle was commissioned by the Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, France. The work was shown as part of a larger exhibition of Just’s films in 2011 and is now part of the museum’s permanent collection.