press release

The second edition of DOCKING STATION, the new project space in Stedelijk Museum CS, presents three short films by Danish artist Jesper Just (Copenhagen, 1974): Invitation to Love (2003), The Lonely Villa (2004) and Something to Love (2005). Like Matthew Barney, Douglas Gordon and Francesco Vezolli, in his films Just deploys a highly stylized visual language that references Hollywood cinema with which he scrutinizes notions of masculinity in popular culture. After the films of Daria Martin in the first DOCKING STATION, which dealt with themes like seduction, emotionality and identity from a feminine perspective, Just explores the opposite end of the spectrum.

Just is a rising star on the international art scene. His work reflects the art world’s recent interest in high production film values. After completing his studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Just began making short videos and 16 mm films in 2000. Until 2004, female characters were absent from his work - the roles were reserved for a male-only cast, leaving little scope to explore the customary dynamic between the sexes.

Just’s films are set in environments seeped in masculinity and virility - a gentleman’s club, a deserted harbour area, a strip joint. The male personages do not, however, conform to the stereotypical behaviour that traditionally informs intermale relationships. The artist jettisons the rules of the game, as it were, to see what unfolds. What if the cliché is cast off and, rather than taking to their fists, men engage in a seductive dance, burst into tears or join together in close harmony singing?

Stripped of a linear narrative, Just’s films present ‘open’, ambiguous situations. There is little prolonged spoken dialogue; the action progresses through gaze, gesture and the occasional explosion of emotion.

Actor Johannes Lilleøre takes the male lead in many of the films, serving to connect the different works. He is the catalyst for Just’s ongoing reappraisal and redefinition of traditional male roles and masculine identity. Female characters began to make an incidental appearance in Just’s films in 2004, such as Something to Love, from 2005. However, in this film the conventional screen kiss between man and woman is no dramatic climax but a mechanical ritual that leaves a residue of ambiguity and hollowness.

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Jesper Just
Something to love
Kurator: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen