Pavilion of Denmark: 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia
Jesper Just: Intercourses
And Parallel Graphic Design Campaign by Design Studio Project Projects
1 June - 24 November 2013
Jesper Just confronts the paradoxical nature intrinsic to Biennale commissions in the Giardini: the pavilion as physical representation of one country in another country. Using this as a point of departure, ‘Intercourses’ examines themes of architectural pastiche and cultural dislocation by creating an immersive, multi-faceted environment. Made up of five channels, the film is set in a replica of Paris, France, in a suburb of Hangzhou, China. Unlike many replica cities, this one is fully functional, though in contrasting states of construction and decay. Just’s treatment of the location challenges the viewer’s preconceived notions of space and time, rendering obsolete the distinction between real or imagined memories, between factual or fictional connections to a place.
The film follows three men, interwoven within the scenes, but it is the city that is the main character. Just explains, ‘I’ve worked in the past with the idea of architecture performing, with a building or structure as a main performer, a main protagonist. And here there was the possibility of working with a whole city. I was thinking about ways to make the city the protagonist or mediator between these characters, making them connect via the architecture. I wanted to explore how you could take something as superficial as this architecture and then turn it into something connecting humans.’
The projections will vary in size from one metre to 15 metres depending on the scale of the room they inhabit, underscoring the spatial element of Just’s presentation. The exhibition begins before the visitor has entered the pavilion, with architectural interventions defined by Just that create a new geography, engaging the viewer on not just a visual but also a physical level. The architecture will orchestrate the audience’s relation to the work, choreographing the viewer’s experience of the pavilion.
The parallel graphic campaign by design studio Project Projects will communicate and extend the ideas of doubling and dislocation intrinsic to Just’s installation. Rather than documenting or representing the complex filmic piece, Project Projects will implement a conceptual graphic strategy for display in both physical spaces and online. The physical element consists of 3 distributed posters that juxtapose black-and-white stills from Just’s film with a newly-developed graphic symbol. This symbol is derived from a Chinese character that is inverted, manipulated in form, and iterated in multiple stylistic variations. The result is a two-fold abstraction that is part language, part graphic, representing the liminal space between multiple worlds. During the Venice Biennale, different sets of posters will be posted publicly in five satellite sites (Copenhagen, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, and Shanghai) to present a parallel world and window into the project. An accompanying website offers glimpses and fragments of the filmic piece.
‘‘Intercourses’ signifies that which lies in-between: dialogues, connections, and exchanges,’ explain Project Projects principals Prem Krishnamurthy, Adam Michaels, and Rob Giampietro. ‘Instead of taking the Pavilion as its singular location, our graphic design strategy reaches out to other contexts, elsewhere, in a manner that is both translingual and context-aware.’