L.A. gallery Various Small Fires is presenting Jesper Just’s first solo exhibition in the space. In the Main Gallery is a single-channel video projection of Llano (2012), filmed on location among the dusty Antelope Valley ruins of the failed Socialist-utopian desert city Llano del Rio in north-eastern Los Angeles County. Llano del Rio’s architect, Alice Constance Austin, imagined a proto-feminist gender-neutral design, including communal kitchens located in tunnels between the homes, intended to liberate women from domestic work. The settlement was ultimately abandoned in 1918 after its water rights were lost in a lawsuit. Llano revisits this landscape, observing a woman as she struggles to reconstruct architectural remnants. An apparatus of pipes and tubes, typically used on film sets, floods the ruin with artificial rain, a poetic intervention of cinematic illusion.
Screening in the Project Room is a film that first appeared in Just’s most recent solo show Servitudes (2015) at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Servitudes follows a young female character, The Child, marked by a physical disability, and her movements within an urban space, specifically One World Trade Center in Manhattan. In the film, The Child faces her reflection in the One World Trade Center building with a mix of playful innocence and assertion. As her visage and body appear on the façade of the building, she imposes herself on the surrounding architecture, making her mark on the urban space with a sense of autonomy and poise – yet for her, it is merely a game.
In both of these works, physical space, femininity, and nostalgia collide and interplay. The exhibit is running through December 12th.