Jordan Wolfson
(Female figure) at The Broad
October 2018

Opening October 11, 2018

First presented in the artist’s debut exhibition at the gallery in 2014, Jordan Wolfson’s (Female figure) (2014) will go on view at The Broad in Los Angeles this fall.

A life-size animatronic sculpture, (Female figure) combines film, installation, and performance in the form of a curvaceous, scantily clad woman covered in dirt marks and wearing a witch mask. Dancing before a mirror, (Female figure) intensifies the focus on the gaze which is found throughout Wolfson’s work. While her general demeanor recalls Holli Would, the comic strip femme fatale played by Kim Basinger in the 1992 film Cool World, her body language is complemented by facial recognition software that enables direct eye contact with the viewer, as well as a monologue narrated by the artist. Wolfson pulls intuitively from the world of advertising, the internet, and technology to produce ambitious and enigmatic narratives; his works often feature animated characters he has invented in order to provoke and explore a certain kind of viewing experience.

"I’d been thinking a lot about the viewer, and also thinking about sculpture, formally," Wolfson told the Los Angeles Times after it was announced that The Broad had acquired (Female figure); "I was mostly just interested in the physicality of what I’d seen in the animatronic field, and I was also interested in making a sculpture that had the potential to be chronological or structural in the same way a video is. My hope is that the work dips in and out of spectacle." He added, "I’m honored that my work will be on display in the city it was created in."

Cover Image: Jordan Wolfson, (Female figure), 2014

Colored sculpture at Tate Modern
2018

May 3–August 26, 2018

The inaugural London presentation of Jordan Wolfson’s Colored sculpture (2016) took place 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

 

AT THIS STAGE features Con Leche by Jordan Wolfson
2017
Château Shatto, Los Angeles

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.

Real violence Featured in the 78th Whitney Biennial
2017

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.

MANIC / LOVE / TRUTH / LOVE
2016–2017
Two-part exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam marks the artist's first solo exhibition in The Netherlands
Jordan Wolfson
Installation view of Colored sculpture in the exhibition MANIC / LOVE at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2016)

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.

Read more: An interview with the artist in ARTnews about Colored sculpture, and a conversation between Wolfson and the Stedelijk Museum Director Beatrix Ruf for the Fall 2016 issue of Kaleidoscope.