‘Landscape of Desire’

By Lee Woo-young

Danish artist Jesper Just exhibits films portraying women’s psychology

  • Published : Apr 21, 2014 - 20:38
  • Updated : Apr 21, 2014 - 20:38
A combination of stills from “This Nameless Spectacle” by Jester Just. ( MMCA)
A young man follows a middle-aged woman from a distance. She moves through a park in a wheelchair. Once she enters her apartment, she fastens the sturdy door lock tight, making a few blunt clicking sounds. She gets out of her wheelchair and finds a beam of sunlight shining directly into her eyes.

The light is reflected off a window in the building across from her apartment block. Behind the window stands the man who was following her through the park. He is tilting the window to point the light at the woman’s eyes.

Two wide screens on the opposite walls show each protagonist’s behaviors, revealing the subtle interactions ― somewhat sexual ― between the two, and provoking the curiosity of the viewers. The film is titled “This Nameless Spectacle,” made by Danish artist Jester Just in 2012. It is one of the films on exhibit at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

Just recently became internationally known after representing the Danish pavilion as a media artist at the Venice Biennale last year. His first Seoul exhibition includes 13 of his works that reflect his decade-long artistic career. 
Danish artist Jester Just. (MMCA)

“All the characters in my films are different female characters. They are not characters normally presented in mainstream film. For example, a woman in a wheelchair can be a symbol of tragic accidents or underprivileged persons, but in my film she presents a certain aspect of human nature,” said the artist at the press preview at the museum Friday.

The woman in the wheelchair collapses to the floor in a sudden seizure, and then starts to look as though she’s enjoying a moment of sexual pleasure. Just’s other films made since 2008 attempt to translate women’s desires through symbolic gestures without dialogue. In his 2013 film “This is a Landscape of Desire,” two middle-aged women walk through deserted places sheerly by instinct. The 2010 work “Sirens of Chrome” depicts five black women in a car on a strange quest through the city of Detroit.

“Normally you watch a film inactive. You don’t move your body. But you have to move constantly to watch the film because it’s all related to human bodies,” said Just.

Viewers should always turn to watch the two separate screens on opposite walls. Missing a scene doesn’t mean missing a link of the storyline, but the two separate screens keep viewers engaged with the plot to the end.

Just’s films are also available for viewing at the Media Box, where viewers can pick a film to watch.

For more information, call (02) 2188-6000 or visit www.mmca.go.kr.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)