May 3–August 26, 2018
The inaugural London presentation of Jordan Wolfson’s Colored sculpture (2016) is on view in the Tanks at Tate Modern. The work was first shown at David Zwirner in New York in 2016 before traveling later that year to LUMA Arles and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and is co-produced by Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Featuring a boyish animatronic figure reminiscent of literary and pop cultural characters such as Huckleberry Finn, Howdy Doody, and Alfred E. Neuman, the mascot of Mad magazine, the work is suspended with heavy chains from a large mechanized gantry, which is programmed to choreograph its movements. The sheer physicality of this installation, which includes the work being hoisted and thrown forcefully to the ground, viscerally blurs the distinction between figuration and abstraction, while furthering the formal and narrative possibilities of sculpture.
"I realized very early on that it wasn’t just the figure that was the sculpture: it was a total sculpture, where the chain was just as much a character as the boy," Wolfson explained in an interview with Beatrix Ruf for Kaleidoscope in 2016; "It wasn’t just the boy being controlled by the chains; it was also about the chains having a relationship to the sculptural figure. Both elements were equally sculptural; what was important was looking at the entire artwork compositionally. . . . Every decision I made in making this artwork, I didn’t ask myself intellectually, I asked myself intuitively and physically, what did I feel more for? Did I feel more for it being shiny or matte? Did I feel for more speed in a violent scene or for less? Did I feel more for it having red hair or orange hair? Should it have color, or should it be monochrome? What felt more? What do I feel more? . . . That was really my compass."
Image: Installation view, Jordan Wolfson, David Zwirner, New York, 2016
Jordan Wolfson: Riverboat song
May 2–June 23, 2018
David Zwirner is pleased to present the United States premiere of Jordan Wolfson’s most recent video work, Riverboat song (2017–2018). By turns surreal, deadpan, and mischievous, Riverboat song combines computer-animated vignettes and found video clips with pop soundtracks and a monologue voiced by the artist. Since its debut at Sadie Coles HQ, London, last year, the work has been revisited and expanded by Wolfson, who has added new scenes that are being shown here for the first time. On view at the gallery’s 533 West 19th Street location, this is the artist’s third solo exhibition with David Zwirner.
Image: Jordan Wolfson, Riverboat song, 2017–2018 (still)
February 10–April 1, 2018
Jordan Wolfson’s first institutional solo exhibition in Berlin featured Real violence (2017) and Riverboat song (2017–2018). The most recent of the two works, Riverboat song, is a video that was presented across sixteen monitors, while the virtual reality work Real violence was on view in the Schinkel Klause space.
Wolfson was interviewed by Thomas Bettridge for 032c on the occasion of the first presentation of Real violence at the 2017 Whitney Biennial. As part of a conversation taking in the breadth of his practice to date, Wolfson discusses the process and motivations behind this work.
In a review of the Schinkel Pavillon exhibition in Mousse, Isabella Zamboni writes of Riverboat song: "The video captivates because of its ironic, surreal tones and comic timing, the at times romantic and at times euphoric pop music soundtrack, as well as the perfect technical quality of the ‘adorable’ animations." "Again, and more radically," she continues with reference to Real violence, "the viewer is disgusted by the abjection and attracted by its formal, technically complex artificial quality."
June 10–August 12, 2017
Jordan Wolfson's early animated video Con Leche (2009) was included in the group exhibition AT THIS STAGE at Château Shatto in Los Angeles.
In this 22-minute video, an army of Diet Coke bottles filled with milk marches through empty city streets and back alleys in Detroit. Anthropomorphized through their supple movements and bare feet, they alternately walk with military uniformity, in random formations, and alone, seemingly headed for nowhere in particular. A female voice-over adds disparate narratives to the rhythmic movements of the bottles, addressing both lighthearted and serious topics drawn from texts found on the internet.
Real violence (2017), a virtual reality work, was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. In June 2017, First Look: Jordan Wolfson at the New Museum's theater featured the video works Riverboat song (2017–2018), Raspberry poser (2012), and Animation, masks (2011). Wolfson's 2017 solo exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ in London presented Riverboat song, as well as other new works.
March 17–June 11, 2017
Jordan Wolfson's virtual reality work Real violence (2017) was presented for the first time in the 2017 Whitney Biennial curated by Mia Locks and Christopher Lew.
Wolfson pulls intuitively from contemporary technology, advertising, and digital culture to produce ambitious and enigmatic narratives that often feature animated characters. Real violence reflects the artist's interest in states of interaction between the viewer and the work, in particular as they are activated by the gaze.
This was the 78th edition of the biennial and the first to be held at the Whitney Museum building on Gansevoort Street in lower Manhattan.
JORDAN WOLFSON: MANIC / LOVE / TRUTH / LOVE presented major works spanning several years of the artist's practice in a two-part exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam—Wolfson's first solo exhibition in The Netherlands.
The first part, MANIC/LOVE, featured Wolfson’s most recent large scale animatronic installation Colored sculpture (2016), whose red hair, freckles, and boyish look draw associations with such literary and pop cultural characters as Huckleberry Finn and Howdy Doody. Highly polished in appearance and featuring facial recognition technology in its eyes, the work is suspended with heavy chains from a large mechanized gantry, which is programmed to choreograph its movements. MANIC/LOVE also included a selection of wall-mounted digital paintings and video works including Raspberry Poser (2012).
The second part of the exhibition, TRUTH/LOVE, featured Wolfson's animatronic sculpture Female figure (2014), which was first presented at David Zwirner in New York in 2014 in the artist's debut exhibition with the gallery. The sculpture combines film, installation, and performance in the figure of a woman dancing and wearing a witch mask. At David Zwirner and at the Stedelijk Museum, a limited number of visitors was admitted to see Female figure at one time. Like Colored sculpture, Female figure reflects the artist’s interest in states of interaction between the viewer and his work, in particular as they are activated by the gaze.
California documents Jordan Wolfson's first exhibition with the gallery at David Zwirner in New York in 2014. The result of a close collaboration between Wolfson and the book designer Joseph Logan, the publication is part exhibition catalogue and part artist's book, and includes a text by Wolfson that provides context for the visual material.
Arranged in a dynamic layout, the publication features photo documentation of the animatronic sculpture Female figure (2014) and the installation of the exhibition, which also included a series of untitled sculptures from 2014 and the video Raspberry Poser (2012). Candid shots of Wolfson were contributed by the artist and photographer Gaea Woods.