An American Artist
His name is Jordan Wolfson. You may not have heard of this American artist, born in 1980, but the New Yorker has just published an in-depth profile on him running to 28 pages.
David Zwirner and Sadie Coles
And if the powerful American Zwirner Gallery hadn’t closed its doors in Paris, like all businesses are doing right now, they would have exhibited his latest work until 21 March (Sadie Coles (watch her interview during last Fiac) staged a similar exhibition in parallel in London until 29 February 2020).
The new sensation
Wolfson is the new contemporary art sensation, and you can bet that he won’t be swept away by the coronavirus. Because, as David Zwirner (watch what he says about Jeff Koons) explains, “Jordan Wolfson has changed the way we think about sculpture”. Those of us who’ve had the opportunity to see his latest work can attest to this.
The unphotographable and barely describable “thing” uses a technology called Hypervsn, which French artist Cyprien Gaillard has already worked with. The hypnotic installation is composed of 20 fans fitted with micro-LEDs which, when set in motion, produce holographic 3D images that appear to flash at intervals.
Artists, friends, racists
He’s called it “Artists, friends, racists”, simply because this vegetarian artist who practices daily meditation had this flash of inspiration for the title, no other reason. Hearts, bunnies, Stars of David and numbers appear and disappear in 3D and as if by magic… You can feel as though you’re channel-hopping through the familiar iconography of social media, with its mixture of cute pictures, pop culture icons and identity politics.
In the kingdom of the politically correct, which the Anglo-Saxon world holds so dear, Jordan Wolfson is a disruptor because he refuses to take sides. He says what he sees through the medium of his shock creations, without offering explanations. In 2017 he showed someone being thoroughly beaten up in virtual reality in “Real Violence”, making the viewer the voyeur in a scene that is certainly simulated but nonetheless brutal.
A grubby Lady Gaga
Perhaps the work that received the most attention on social media was his “Female Figure” from 2014, consisting of an animatronic puppet whose silhouette resembles a grubby Lady Gaga wearing thigh-high boots and a miniskirt, staring at her reflection in a mirror. Seen from head on, her witch-like face is partly hidden by a mask with a hooked nose and a platinum blonde wig. She gesticulates while repeating the words, “Touch is love, now close your eyes.” Her eyes, guided by a facial recognition system, follow your gaze.
Nightmarish, hyper-technological parody
It’s another nightmarish, hyper-technological parody of a media society that turns pathological narcissists into icons. The press had a field day. “Who likes Jordan Wolfson?” said Frieze, pointing an accusatory finger in December 2019. “Creepy and vengeful,” wrote the Guardian in May 2018. But museums continue to display him… The emblematic Kunsthaus Bregenz will be exhibiting his work in Austria in 2021 following the Tate in London and the Stedelijk in Amsterdam.
The tattoo on his chest
“I’m just trying to be in the world and see its distortions,” he says. Watch the video interview with Wolfson. It was made in the old days, when you could actually approach the person being interviewed, and on this occasion he even showed me the tattoo on his chest.
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