Jesper Just: This Nameless Spectacle

From July 4 to October 20, 2019, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents the exhibition Jesper Just: This Nameless Spectacle as part of the 2019 programming of the Film & Video gallery, a space where the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents referential works of video art and video installation, and explores the moving image as a key artistic language of our time.

Jesper just this nameless spectacle
The exhibition features a work by the artist Jesper Just (b. 1974, Copenhagen), known internationally for his use of major cinematic formats and his ambition to rethink, visually and physically, the logic of moving pictures.

The works of Jesper Just explore concepts that are closely related to the cultural tradition of the film industry, from voyeurism to urban life and gender conflicts, challenging their conventional representations. Just combines theatrical technology and film installation strategies to create open-ended visual narratives with complex emotional resonances.

The two-channel video installation This Nameless Spectacle (2011) borrows its title American writer from William Carlos Williams, who praised in his poem “The Right of Way” the fascinating beauty of ordinary life events—the “nameless spectacle” of unremarked phenomena occurring anytime in a place like any other. If looked at closely, these trivial facts can convey a disarming beauty, a deeply troubling enigma, or a forgotten truth.

Split in two parallel time flows and two monumental screens facing each other, Just’s film presents an ambiguous, open dramatic act where two seemingly unconnected characters with overlapping itineraries exchange gazes in the streets of the Parisian neighbourhood of Buttes-Chaumont Park. Their mutual scrutiny repeats as they look through the opposite windows of their apartments until one of them suffers a breakdown caused perhaps by the very act of looking or being looked at, or perhaps by the reflection of the sunlight. The ambiguousness of this event is intensified by that of the film’s main character, transgender actress and singer Marie-France Garcia.