Jordan Wolfson Part 2
Amsterdam, February 17, 2017 – The first solo exhibition by American artist Jordan Wolfson in the Netherlands unfolds in two parts. Previously, MANIC/LOVE was on display; now, it is followed by TRUTH/LOVE, which offers an in-depth overview of the artist’s work through twelve 16 mm films, animated videos produced during the early years of his career, the recent video Animation Masks, and a selection of objects. Also featured is his first animatronic, Female figure (2014), a fascinating yet terrifying robotic sculpture equipped with facial recognition technology that enables it to interact with viewers.
6 mm films and animated videos
In his recent animated videos, Wolfson draws upon a vast array of visual material. His multi-layered videos are a fluid collage of computer images, traditionally drawn scenes, photos, texts, and other references from popular culture. With their polished 3D animation, the figures in Wolfson’s recent animations seem to foreshadow his animatronic sculptures. Animation Masks (2011), on view in the “film room,” centers around an ethnic caricature, a heavily exaggerated cliché of a Jewish stereotype based on images generated by Google searches for “evil Jew” and “Shylock.”
The large gallery space is devoted to an installation comprising a group of twelve of Wolfson’s early films and videos, in combination with spatial objects. Among the film and video works are the computer animation Infinite Melancholy (2003), the 16 mm film I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor… (2005), and the short film Perfect lover (2007). Many of these early works are about moments of breakdown, rupture, collision, and chance.
To create his animatronic sculptures, Wolfson uses highly advanced techniques and computer technologies, developed for film production and pop concerts, within a narrative and sculptural context. The work Female figure is a hybrid man-machine, designed as a hypersexualized blonde pop star. Wearing a transparent white outfit, she poses before a mirror and, armed with motion sensors and facial recognition technology, locks eyes with visitors, tracking their movements. While facing the mirror, she performs a sophisticated choreography – seductive yet repugnant – in a chilling ballet of watching and being watched. Her (male) voice cries, “My mother is dead, my father is dead, I’m gay, I’d like to be a poet, this is my house,” collage-like phrasing similar to that in Wolfson’s animated videos.
Experience Female figure by reserving a time slot
To provide visitors with the best possible interactive experience of Female figure, the artwork is installed in a separate space, viewable by three people at a time in the presence of a museum staff member. Each visit lasts fifteen minutes. Visitors can register daily for a time slot issued for the same day. Morning time slots (until 1:00 p.m.) can be reserved starting at 10:00 a.m. From Monday to Thursday, afternoon time slots are available until 5:00 p.m., and can be reserved from 1:00 p.m. onwards. On Fridays, slots are also available in the evening, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Visitors can register for these slots starting at 5:00 p.m. Time slots can only be reserved at the Stedelijk; it is not possible to select a time slot by phone, email, or via the museum’s website. The exhibition is open every day during the Stedelijk’s opening hours (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily, and 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Fridays).
Jordan Wolfson: Sculpture and the Surrogate Self
On Saturday, February 18, in close collaboration with the artist, the Stedelijk is organizing an afternoon discussion centering on sculpture, performance, portrait, identity, and self-reflection with specialists in political aesthetics, cognitive neuroscience, robotics, art, and art history. The session will also look back at the first part of this exhibition, which included the animatronic work Colored Sculpture (2016). Tickets are available via the museum’s website. The public program will be held at the Teijin Auditorium, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., and will be in English.
A richly illustrated publication (ca. 200 pages), designed by Joseph Logan and including an interview with the exhibition’s curators, Beatrix Ruf and Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, and Jordan Wolfson, as well as a contribution by Jack Bankowsky and other content, will be released in spring 2018.