Body Sculpture by Jordan Wolfson

American artist Jordan Wolfson is known for his animatronic sculptures that position ‘the audience in a physical and moral confrontation with issues facing society and our own place within them.’

His new artwork ‘Body Sculpture’ has premiered at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and will be on view until 28 April 2024. Two animated sculptural compositions engage in a 30 minute performance in three acts, or three “climaxes” says the artist. The artwork was specially commissioned by the gallery at a cost of AU$6.67M and is the first solo presentation of the artist’s work in Australia.

It has been suggested that the work simulates sex, violence and other human physicality, such as a hug. The artist hopes that the work is received as ‘universal’, he has said that ‘the movement of the sculpture elicits the viewer to become activated in their bodies and therefore present. So, it’s very formal — in a way, it’s the most formal work I’ve made. It’s about seeing ourselves through three‑dimensional objects, which is what I believe sculpture as doing.’

The gallery notes that ‘Works in this exhibition depict mature themes. Viewer discretion is advised. Children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sound levels reach 100 decibels at certain points (equivalent to a motorbike) with loud drumming and impact noises.’

‘Body Sculpture’ was created in collaboration with roboticist Mark Setrakian, and it will be shown alongside key works from the NGA’s collection, selected by the artist.