I work freelance as a Production Designer and Set Designer on film, TV, and theatre. Additionally, I work as a Designer, Presenter, and Organiser of scenography related cultural projects in collaboration with different organisations and institutions.
A common thread in all my work is my curiosity and desire to create universes and tell stories using stage-managing and space.
My work as a set designer spans almost all genres. I have worked in different kinds of media, in several different environments with very different budgets, and I have both “big” and “small” jobs on my repertoire. I have created digital set designs for children’s theatre, built set design in paper for animation film, and I have been to faraway countries like Africa, Spain, and Argentina to be in charge of set /production design on big scale feature films.
When I use the term cultural projects, it covers a range of different public involvement projects and workshops I have set up in collaboration with various institutions. These projects vary from being cross-genre and cross-media projects, where we work with creative processes in social and educational contexts. To what I call "documentary staging" where I study themes and trends in society through exploration and documentations of people's most intimate space, their home.
Whether I work as a production designer, a set designer or as a visual artist (with cultural projects), it’s always my enormous curiosity for the stories hidden in man’s most sacred space – his home – that drives me in to, at times, extreme conditions in order to experience the people whose lives I seek to portray.
Often my spatial research for a movie turns into a Cultural project, and at times, a Cultural project becomes the inspiration and the conceptual background for the production design in a movie. My work methodology doesn’t set boundaries, but it expands with inspirations taken from all aspects of my life and projects.
Culture Reviewer Trine Ross has written this about Liselotte's work
The space and the story by TRINE ROSS culture critic, Politiken Newspape CVr
It is said that an image says more than a thousand words. And in some cases, the saying is true. Take for example the photos of Liselotte Justesen. The stories that these photos tell are about lives lived, and about those that are still being lived. Paradoxically, the photos do their job without revealing too much. In fact, Liselotte Justesen portrays people and their destinies by not showing us their faces. Instead, she focuses on the surroundings and on what, to a varying degree, can be defined as these people’s homes. She lets the space tell the story, and the story often contains more questions than answers.
How, for example, can the same teenager occupy to spaces as different as the ones we see in the series ”At home with mom/at home with dad”? And who even decides how these teenagers’ rooms should look? Another question is how Greenlandic prisoners survive when placed indefinitely in minimal spaces. Why do almost all of them keep birds as company in their cells – and why do these birds not escape when given the opportunity?
These are the kind of questions Liselotte Justesen’s photos allow us to pose. They point at issues and circumstances which most of us would rather not experience too closely. They are, quite frankly, too depressing. But Liselotte Justesen does not allow us to look the other way. She attempts to show us that unfortunate events do not always occur to others and that our own luck can turn in an instant. One can only imagine the plights of the homeless women. Justesen shows us their few belongings, neatly placed on the shelter bed which is about to be made and left behind. One owns a Marimekko gown with a matching sun-hat, another carries only a few syringes and some Vaseline.
Liselotte Justesen is consistent in her visual policy which allow a glance at the life-stories of the portrayed but newer allow us to see their faces. The two most important reasons for this policy are them and you – the portrayed and the beholder. Justesen refuses to maintain these people in their current situations and risk branding them for life. At the same time, you and I are not getting off easy. We should not be able to look at a face and say to ourselves: This is not me. For what Liselotte Justesen is trying to remind us is that it easily could become us.
For this reason, Justesen’s photos bring us face-to-face with a different world – several different worlds – which one can only hope will never become one’s own. The spaces in the photos tell stories of apathy, isolation and angst to varying degrees but none as bad as the ones displaying the conditions occupied by refugee families for several years. Notice the recurrent features: Maps, calendars and TVs. These are the things Liselotte Justesen notices. And because of that, Justesen is also an accomplished cinematographer with an ability to recreate credible spaces in film and theatre. But just as film maker Wim Wenders, Justesen ended up with more photos and spaces than expected. Therefore, both began to display their photos and their recordings of spaces as the works of art they rightfully are. But where Wenders often turns toward the facades of houses or the infinite sky, Justesen explores the living spaces which reveal more about each one of us than we would care to admit.