New York artist Jesper Just has commandeered the lower gallery at Paris' Palais de Tokyo with a spectacular audiovisual installation and a vast spatial intervention. Titled 'Servitudes', the exhibition takes visitors on an immersive journey through the space, guided by a series of videos that revolve around the lives of two characters: a young girl and a disabled child, played by Dree Hemingway and Rylee Sweeney, respectively.
Linked through the presence and manipulation of sound, the characters mirror, oppose and interact within the videos, exploring themes of ableism, ideals of youth and femininity as well as the boundaries of body and selfhood. Interestingly, the drama plays out against the backdrop of New York's One World Trade Center, a symbol of both resilience and loss which, as Just explains, becomes a character in itself:
'In the films, the setting appears as much as a mediator as it does a meeting place – uniting the characters, distinguishing them, serving as a gate, barrier and mirror. The characters interact not only within this space, but with it: investigating the boundaries of their own bodies and testing the autonomy they each possess over the urban landscape.'
Walking through a series of room dividing curtains and screens – made out of 230m of Kvadrat's Zulu textile by Giulio Ridolfo – visitors are guided by the music and sound as it propels them from one space to the next, video to video, overlapping and linking each experience.