Gallery 01:1


Riverboat Song

1.2 – 1.9 2019


What may at first appear to be images juxtaposed at random in Riverboat Song is, in fact, carefully composed sequences. Contradictory signals in image, music, silence and speech that are at once both entertaining and unsettling. At the centre is a Huckleberry Finn-like character, who presents a conceited and unempathetic monologue read by the artist himself. Perhaps this figure is an alter ego, or a caricature of the American Dream. There are recurring allusions to the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection and who was undone by his self-absorption.

Jordan Wolfson works in synthetic materials – digital animations, VR or advanced robots. The animations are produced by commercial artists according to Wolfson’s script, the work then emerges in the process of editing those with other images and sounds. However, the content Wolfson focuses on is deeply human. It is about the roles we take, and how social groups relate to one another; about exposedness, identity and moral issues. References to art history, literature, and to Hollywood’s special effects and manipulations are abundant. The works can be perceived as speculative in their exploration of how emotions are triggered and enhanced.


There is a sharp but never unequivocal reflection on social and psychological phenomena in Jordan Wolfson’s works. When creating a new work the search for a specific, real feeling is his compass. The road to that experience can be humour, dramaturgical short circuits and a degree of shock. He sees the exhibition space as a stage, where the exhibited art and the viewers influence one another mutually. The works may resemble valuable toys gone awry, but Wolfson’s provocations are dead serious. They reflect our online reality, where we are influenced a little bit from the side, in the public domain or on digital platforms where the conditions are unclear, even concerning our own part. Are we private individuals, consumers or opinion? Seduced, informed or subjected?

Lena Essling, curator

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© Jordan Wolfson/Bildupphovsrätt 2019
Jordan Wolfson
Born 1980
United States Riverboat Song, 2017-2018
Digital video
8:23 min
Moving Images, Sculptures
Donation 2017 from The American Friends of the Moderna Museet Inc.     
MOM/2017/96 On view at Stockholm
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Stillbild från Galleriet