Tate Modern tomorrow unveils a large-scale animatronic installation in the Tanks, Colored sculpture by American artist Jordan Wolfson. The work features a menacing puppet over 7 feet tall, which is lifted, pulled, dragged and dropped to the floor by mechanised chains attached to its limbs. The figure has digital screens for eyes and is equipped with sensors which allow it to spot passing visitors and stare back at them. It is one of many new works going on display across Tate Modern over the coming months.
Wolfson’s sculpture, which is being gifted to Tate by Joe and Marie Donnelly, draws upon various representations of boyhood from American pop culture, including Huckleberry Finn, Mad Magazine and Howdy-Doody. The apparent acts of violence inflicted on this figure can seem shocking, but are tempered by its deliberately crude construction of polyurethane parts. The figure can also be seen as an aggressor as well as a victim, as it mouths a cryptic list of threatening statements and fixes its eyes on viewers around the room.
Alongside Wolfson’s sculpture, visitors to the Tanks will also find the renowned collaborative project No Ghost Just a Shell. This multimedia series of works began when French artists Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe bought the copyright to a manga character called Annlee in 1999. A digital image with no fixed identity or context, Annlee became the subject of several works by a group of invited artists – including Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Anna Lena Vaney and Liam Gillick – incorporating video, sound, neon, print and sculpture.
Top Image: Jordan Wolfson Coloured sculpture 2016. Photo © Tate