(Female figure), 2014 is an immersive environment by artist Jordan Wolfson that features a robotic sculpture. For seven minutes, the robot gives monologues and dances to pop songs. Startling and unnerving, the work raises the specter of misogyny and exposes fissures in pop culture. It challenges the ways women are represented, and the ways images of women are consumed.
The sculpture resembles a hypersexualized female, but it also complicates such a reading and evades easy consumption. In a brightly lit room that is more sterile than sensual, the robot wears a witch mask and is covered in black smudges. The figure faces a mirrored wall to which it is attached by a rod piercing its torso. Traditionally, art is a one-directional experience: you alone observe the artwork. Here, however, the robot uses facial recognition software to “look at” the viewer, returning your stare. This may feel like the sculpture is objectifying you, treating you like an object.
(Female figure) challenges assumptions about gender, sexuality and even our status as human subjects.
I was mostly just interested in the physicality of what I’d seen in the animatronic field, and I was also interested in making a sculpture that had the potential to be chronological or structural in the same way a video is. My hope is that the work dips in and out of spectacle.
Over the past decade, Jordan Wolfson has become known for his thought-provoking works in a wide range of media, including video, sculpture, installation, photography, and performance. He pulls intuitively from the world of advertising, the Internet, and the technology industries to produce ambitious and enigmatic narratives. However, instead of simply appropriating found material, the artist creates his own unique content, which frequently revolves around a series of invented, animated characters.
Wolfson was born in 1980 in New York. In 2003, he received his B.F.A. in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2013, the artist joined David Zwirner and has presented solo exhibitions of his work at the gallery in New York in 2014 and 2016.