press release

Part 1: MANIC / LOVE - Nov 27, 2016 - Feb 5, 2017

Part 2: TRUTH / LOVE - March 4, 2017 - May 7, 2017

This autumn, the Stedelijk Museum will present Jordan Wolfson (New York, 1980), one of the most outspoken representatives of a new generation of artists who explore the increasing digitalization of society and other technological developments.

The first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of the American artist Jordan Wolfson (New York, 1980) unfolds in two parts. It opened with MANIC/LOVE and now continues with TRUTH/LOVE (on view from 13 February – 23 April 2017). Both editions centre around Wolfson’s animatronics (computer controlled moving sculptures). Featuring a wide selection of animated videos, 15 mm films and digital wall objects, this diptych presents a comprehensive overview of Wolfson’s work.

Part 2: TRUTH / LOVE 18 Feb - 23 Apr 2017

Centerpiece of the exhibition’s second part is Wolfson’s first animatronic creation, the thought-provoking Female figure (2014). This computer-controlled, hyper-sexualized blonde robotic woman flaunts the kind of outfit ordinarily worn by pop stars in music videos: a see-through miniskirt, high-heeled thigh-high boots, and long gloves. A device loaded with motion tracking software, concealed beneath a green, bird-like mask, enables her to lock eyes with viewers. While the woman speaks to her audience—accompanied by a soundtrack of pop music—she gyrates before the mirror, alluring yet repugnant, in an endless ballet of watching and being watched. *Important visitor information

The installation Female figure can only be viewed with a time slot. The work can be experienced in a separate space, and may only be viewed by three people at a time. This provides the visitor with the best possible opportunity to interact with the work. A visit lasts for a maximum of 15 minutes, and takes place in the presence of a Stedelijk staff member. The rest of the exhibition can be viewed during the Stedelijk’s opening hours (10 am - 6 pm and Friday 10 am -10 pm).

How do I get a time slot?
Timeslots can be reserved daily in the museum and for the same day. Each day, time slots are issued for the same day. Time slots can be reserved through a Stedelijk staff member (at the entrance to Female figure).

Time slots:
Slots from 10 am till 1 pm – bookings from 10 am
Slots from 2 pm till 5 pm – bookings from 1 pm
Slots from 6 pm till 9 pm – bookings from 5 pm (Fridays only)

When you have been issued with a time slot, please come on time. You must be in the space when the work begins (every fifteen minutes). If you turn up late, you will miss your time slot. Time slots cannot be reserved by phone, email or via the website.

Female Figure may not be suitable for young children.

Part 1: MANIC / LOVE

Nov. 27, 2016 – Jan. 29, 2017
The exhibition begins with Colored sculpture (2016), Wolfson’s latest animatronic artwork, which is based on the legacy of American pop culture. Wolfson’s work strips back the glossy veneer of the American dream to expose the darker side lurking beneath. The robot’s red hair and freckles recall pop cult characters like Huckleberry Finn, Howdy Doody, and Alfred E. Neuman, the Mad magazine mascot. The boy’s movements are controlled by a computer program as he dangles from heavy chains attached to a steel gantry. The figure floats effortlessly through the space before being thrown bodily to the floor. From time to time, the boy attempts to establish contact with the viewer, but he can never break free from the software which subjects him to torments that viewers experience on an almost visceral level.

The relentless physicality of the gallery-scale installation suffuses the work with a sense of violence and unpredictability. With his sculptures, Wolfson merges the boundaries between abstraction and figuration, challenging the formal and narrative potency of the sculptural discipline.

Colored sculpture is presented alongside a selection of video works and digital paintings. One of the highlights is the video Raspberry poser (2012), which features a world populated by a medley of Disney-like cartoon characters, mutating red blood cells, a peripatetic condom, images from art history, and a punk, played by the artist himself. A blaring soundtrack of pop hits, from Beyoncé to Roy Orbison, melds the images into a cohesive, disturbing narrative.

The solo show also features Wolfson’s wall mounted digital paintings. These pristinely painted montages containing a hint of Pop Art offer a strident pairing of words and images borrowed from wildly divergent origins. Several of the captions echo the texts found on bumper stickers: horizontal bands printed with punchy, witty, religious, or political messages attached to the rear bumpers of American automobiles.

About the artist

Jordan Wolfson earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003. His work has been widely exhibited internationally at venues such as the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Kunsthalle Wien, REDCAT in Los Angeles, Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, Italy (2007) and Kunsthalle Zürich (2004). In 2009, Wolfson was the recipient of the prestigious Cartier Award of the Frieze Foundation. He lives and works in New York and Los Angeles.

Stedelijk Contemporary

The 2016 exhibition program includes a series of dynamic solo exhibitions by a young generation of artists. Many of these are new productions and recent purchases that are associated with the museum’s acquisitions policy. The Stedelijk seeks to respond to current events and stimulate contemporary talent by also taking on the position of commissioner in some cases. Its commitment to developing lasting relationships with young artists shapes the future identity of the museum’s collection.


The exhibition is made possible in part with generous financial support from LUMA Foundation, Fonds 21, VSBfonds, Fundación Almine Y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso Para El Arte, Sadie Coles HQ and David Zwirner.
With special thanks to the members of the Jordan Wolfson Exhibition Circle: ProWinko Nederland B.V., Ringier Collection and donors who wish to remain unnamed. The catalogue is made possible by Joe and Marie Donnelly.