The National Gallery of Australia unveils Body Sculpture, the highly anticipated new work by Los Angeles-based artist Jordan Wolfson and a major acquisition for the national collection. This is the world premiere of Body Sculpture and the first solo presentation of Wolfson’s work in Australia.
Jordan Wolfson is an American artist whose work reflects the conditions of the world today. His animatronic sculptures reside at the interface of art history and new technology, drawing from a formal lineage of twentieth-century sculpture as well as images and motifs from the mass media, popular culture and the internet.
As with Wolfson’s previous animatronic works Female Figure, 2014 and Colored Sculpture, 2016, this new work combines sculpture and performance to generate emotional and physical responses in the viewer.
Wolfson’s art positions the audience in a physical and moral confrontation with issues facing society and our own place within them, acting as a witness to the darkness within the human condition. As the artist says: “The intention is that the movement of Body Sculpture elicits the viewer to become activated in their bodies and therefore present….It’s about seeing ourselves through three‑dimensional objects, which is what I believe sculpture as doing.”
The acquisition of Body Sculpture builds on the National Gallery’s legacy of collecting groundbreaking works. Along with Wolfson’s earlier animatronic sculptures, which have become defining works of the past decade, Body Sculpture pushes the boundaries of what is expected from a work of art by combining performance, sculpture, robotics and sound to create compelling and unsettling experiences.
Body Sculpture extends this experience in terms of scale, duration and complexity. Fusing abstraction and figuration, the work explores the potential of sculpture as an object in space. Its interacting robotic elements perform an intricate choreography that questions the intersection between human and machine, between embodiment and symbolism, and between object and viewer.
Jordan Wolfson: Body Sculpture is open now and runs until Sunday 28 April 2024. Body Sculpture is shown alongside key works from the national collection selected by the artist, offering audiences further insights into Wolfson’s innovative vision.
The exhibition is also accompanied by an illustrated publication that explores robust ideas and positions the work within diverse contexts, including art history, cybernetics and media theory.
Russell Storer, Head Curator, International Art
About Jordan Wolfson
Jordan Wolfson (b. 1980) is known for his thought-provoking works in a wide range of media, including video, sculpture, installation, photography and performance. Pulling intuitively from the world of advertising, the internet, and the technology industry, he produces ambitious and enigmatic narratives that frequently revolve around a series of invented, animatronic characters. Through his art, Wolfson probes difficult topics and themes that underlie American culture and contemporary society.
Wolfson was born in 1980 in New York and lives and works in Los Angeles. In 2003 he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design, and in 2009 he received the Frieze Foundation’s Cartier Award, which assists an artist from outside the United Kingdom in realising a major work at the Frieze Art Fair in London. His institutional exhibitions worldwide include presentations at the Kunsthalle Zürich (2004); Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, Italy (2007); Swiss Institute, New York (2008); Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany (2011); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012), the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (2013) and Kunsthaus Bregenz (2022). In 2016, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, hosted a two-part solo survey exhibition, MANIC/LOVE/TRUTH/LOVE. In 2018, the Broad, Los Angeles, presented Wolfson’s decade-defining sculpture Female Figure (2014) and the Tanks at Tate Modern hosted the inaugural London presentation of Colored Sculpture (2016).