Jordan Wolfson NOTES WITH AN EMOTIONAL TONE

Jordan Wolfson is considered a post-internet artist, He was hailed as the Jeff Koons of the millennial generation who took inspiration from the contemporary information and consumer society. Born in the early 1980s, he achieved commercial success and collaborated with one of New York’s most notable art galleries, David Zwirner. His work attracts attention due to the formal solutions he uses his style of practice. Furthermore his objects wisely focus on themes that are crucial in this era and these days of social changes. Primarily, the comparison between Jordan Wolfson and Jeff Koons seems to actually reflect the commercial nature of their works. Both make use of various media in different unorthodox ways. Thanks to robotisation the sculptures gain very futuristic features. This means that seemingly prosaic objects like a doll or a mannequin become avantgarde and get the ability to move according to programmed guidelines. The creatures declare maxims that are important for Wolfson, while pop songs by artists such as Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga play in the background serving as an ambiguous composition of polyphony that involves both media and contexts.

Jordan Wolfson, Detail of Colored sculpture, 2016
Mixed media, Dimensions variable with installation
Courtesy: the artist, David Zwirner

Jordan Wolfson creates a narrative with theatrical situations. This is what happens in the Colored Sculpture installation, in which a puppet with red hair and digital eyes, guided by a machine, communicates a bombastic monodrama which sounds like a threat. The artist’s recorded voice could suggest that he identifies with the characters he has created, although, as he claims, there is room for interpretation. In the situations he creates, the artist plays a supporting role which is definitely a  marked by strong emotions and extremism more in general.

Jordan Wolfson, (Female figure), 2014, installation view, David Zwirner, New York. © Mixed media. Overall dimensions vary with each installation. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York. Ph: Jonathan Smith

Percy Sledge’s song “When a man loves a woman” resounded in the white gallery walls during the MANIC / LOVE / TRUTH / LOVE exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Teijin Auditorium in Amsterdam in 2016. It was played from time to time and provided the background to an abstract expositional situation, with the raw sound of the puppet falling on the floor that was intertwined with the words. The whole act was complemented by the aforementioned monodrama of a boy whose appearance recalls a mixture of American icons such as Huckleberry Finn, Howdy Doody and Alfred E. Neuman. It sounded as follows: 

Two to kill you, three to hold you, four to bleed you, five to touch you, six to move you, seven to ice you, eight to put my teeth in you, nine to put my hand on you, ten to end inside you hair, eleven you’re right over my shoulder, twelve your mouth full of coffee, twelve I knew you, thirteen I killed you, fourteen you’re blind, fifteeen you’re spoiled, sixteen to lift you, seventeen to show you, eighteen to weigh you, spit earth! 

It can be assumed that the computer-controlled sculpture yells these words strictly to the machine itself that incapacitates him. The function is to reproduce an act between the two entities as if they were in a toxic relationship that has been programmed to resemble difficult and drastic love.

Jordan Wolfson, Riverboat song, 2017-2018, Sixteen (16) monitor video wall, 8:24 min,color, sound Dimensions vary with installation, Courtesy: the artist, David Zwirner

The sixteen channel video installation titled Riverboat Song is an extension of the story presented in Colored Sculpture. This time the character moves to a digital environment in which the song “Work” by Iggy Azalea is the main background. The character performs sensual dance moves in the rhythm of the song telling about the complicated path to the singer’s success: I’m not hating, I’m just telling you I’m tryna let you know what the fuck that I’ve been through. The red-haired boy is wearing black heels, it can be assumed that they are the same Loubotin’s that Azalea herself is singing about. They are something that gives confidence to both characters. They manifest the status of a busy and successful artist. Then his body begins to change. The sensual nature of the movements is transformed into vulgarity, huge breasts and buttocks grow out of the character, but quickly detach from the body and become a separate creature. At the very end, the character also loses his face. At first, the entire video may look like randomly selected scenes. However, they are full of symbolism that is not explicitly stated. Wolfson’s visual manifestation encourages people to search for their own contexts. One of the most important scenes are those directed directly at the viewer. The character is not afraid to speak to the observer directly: I’d like you to love you more than anything. And do as I say: Be strong empowered, sexy, stylish and sassy.