It is unfortunate that Jesper Just’s first solo exhibition in Tokyo takes place at the Perrotin Gallery; its dimensions would not have allowed for his earlier groundbreaking projection installations, with their arrested narratives, as if sequences from a film that had either started or unconcerned with its ending, or like a music video that didn’t need Radiohead to convey its concept.
It is however fortunate for Perrotin that Just, who embarked on a radically new trajectory of sculptural media pieces, was able to conceive new works which found a way to occupy the perimeter in a manner that appears to expand it and make it breathe more easily. These new installations that make up his Seminarium series combine led screens displayed at angles, supported by intricate metal frames and an actual grooming of the cables required by the technology. There is nothing lying around unnecessarily, nor having to hide those that run along the walls towards a socket. Each of the four installations, giving off a violet hue, contains images of moving hands, fingers, part of a leg or torso, except for one which has the full resting figure of a woman praising the health benefits of biofeedback technology.
Proof of this is provided in the ecosystem assembled by the artist. Glass vases containing plants that can either be eaten or be of assistance to our health, to be used directly on bodies, are placed in front of each cell constituted by the space a work occupies. A ceremony discretely takes place between the plant, the light, and the image technology.
The exhibition also includes photographs from his Interpassivities series, made up of images of dancers from the American Ballet Theater and the Royal Danish Ballet. Electrodes are placed over parts of the dancers’ bodies, music travels to stimulate muscles as a camera attempts to capture the response. The seemingly pastel tones, soft grey-blue and beige skin colored dancing attire, provide a distinct organic quality, conveying a further sense of peace to the exhibition while creating a choreography of rest and stillness of an aftermath.
It is unfortunate that these works might leave Japan; if there is room, thankfully, for James Turell, there should now be a space for Jesper Just.
* Interview with Jesper Just will be forthcoming.
photos by S.