The National Gallery of Australia has unveiled Body Sculpture, the highly anticipated new sculpture by Los Angeles-based artist Jordan Wolfson and a major acquisition for the national collection. This is the first solo presentation of Wolfson’s work in Australia and features the world premiere of Body Sculpture.
Jordan Wolfson is an American artist whose work reflects the situation of the world today. 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.
His 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.
“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,” said Wolfson.
National Gallery Director, Dr Nick Mitzevich said the acquisition of Body Sculpture builds on the Gallery’s legacy of collecting ground-breaking works.
From its inception, the national collection has been shaped by bold and ambitious acquisitions, with the aim of sharing the most significant artworks and ideas from around the world with the Australian public,” said Mitzevich.
“Body Sculpture is a historic acquisition for the National Gallery, marking a milestone in contemporary art. As with other great works in the national collection, it will continue to reverberate into the future.”
“It is the first work by Wolfson to enter an Australian collection, and we are proud to present it for the first time here in Kamberri/Canberra,” he added.
Mitzevich said Body Sculpture, along with Jordan’s other two animatronic sculptures, are defining works of the past decade, pushing the boundaries of what we expect from a work of art by combining performance, sculpture, robotics and sound to create compelling and unsettling experiences.
“Body Sculpture takes this experience further in terms of scale, duration and complexity. Fusing abstraction and figuration, the work explores the potential of sculpture as an object in space,” said Mitzevich.
“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.”
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.
Jordan Wolfson: Body Sculpture
National Gallery, Parkes Place East, Parkes (Canberra)
Exhibition continues to Sunday 28 April 2024
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.nga.gov.au for details.
Image: Jordan Wolfson, Body Sculpture (detail), 2023, National Gallery of Australia Kamberri/Canberra, purchased 2019 © Jordan Wolfson. Courtesy Gagosian, Sadie Coles HQ, and David Zwirner – photo by David Sims