When I was in Amsterdam in 2006, I visited the Stedelijik museum of modern art. I was impressed with museum’s special focus on new mediums, especially in the new / multi-media realm, but the exhibit that especially stuck with me wasthis installment in their “Docking Station” series by danish artist Jesper Just.
I’m not typically a fan experimental film but Just’s work is so compelling and powerful I struggle to call it that; never before have four and a half minutes of 16mm film brought me tears and stirred so many deeply rooted emotions within me as Just’s The Lonely Villa. While his films have no narrative in the traditional sense, they tell the larger story of what it means to be a man in contemporary western society and deal with all the stereotypes, assumptions, and baggage that comes along with conceptions of masculinity.
“As Virginia Woolf has put it in A Room of One’s Own, women need a place of their own to redefine the feminine existence without relating to the already existing definitions of relations to the man. So my point is that maybe it’s time for men to have a place like that as well…” Jesper Just, 2006
As with most short format and experimental film, seeing these works is nearly impossible. Prowling the internet yields only two videos and a handful of bootleg camcorder snippets so one can imagine my excitement when I found that The Brooklyn Museum is doing an preparing an exhibition of Just’s work, including his new film, Romantic Delusion. The exhibition runs September 19, 2008–January 4, 2009.