Jesper Rasmussen is a Danish multimedia artist whose impressive body of work ranges from photography to film to sculpture to installation. Aside of his work as an artist, since 1981 Rasmussen is also co-editor of art journal Pist Protta.
Space, landscape, architecture are the main preoccupations of the artist. As stated in his introduction: “Overall Rasmussen’s project becomes an investigation of how space, scale and architecture affect us bodily, visually, psychologically, socially, conceptually and philosophically“.
Panoptika is a work that somehow recalls Thomas Demand‘s in that it consists of a series of photographs (Cibachromes), taken between 1996 and 2004, of installations in large boxes (typically at human scale of 2,2 x 3 x 2,5 metres) at the size of a room. No sculpture or physical objet is left after taking the photographs.
Characteristically, Rasmussen calls his series of boxes “panoptica”. He thereby draws a parallel between an architectonic structure (built up around a central control tower from which the whole building can be observed) and the artist’s photographic eye, which has sole visual control of the space represented. But he does not work with a traditional photographic strategy in which we unquestioningly adopt his view of the world. On the contrary, we are confronted with the inadequacy of our gaze in that the angle and position of his camera are ambiguous and blur more than they clarify
In other words, our visually accustomed gaze lets us down here. Despite our acquired ability to decode the images with which we are bombarded every day, when confronted with Rasmussen’s photographs we are without permanent, familiar fixed points. The proportions of the box are quite simply impossible to read and in several instances we are not even able to define what turns up and what turns down in the architectonic room. The photographs unfold between the flat room and the sculptural character of the forms and this constant interplay is confusing. Neither the power of the gaze nor the body’s horizon of experience has an easy time in this visual room.
(Excerpt from Off Location catalogue text By Anna Krogh, curator)
All images © Jesper Rasmussen