Sunday, 20 April 2014

Jordan Wolfson

McLellan Galleries, Glasgow until April 21st
Three stars
It's the soft-core gloss that sucks you in first in 'Raspberry Poser',
the fourteen-minute billboard-size video projection that forms the
heart of Jordan Wolfson's life and death fusion of high-end corporate
ad-land stylings and provocative animations. A CGI-generated HIV virus
bounces around the neighbourhood like an ever-pulsating nail-bomb,
multiplying in a regimented choreographic display that ricochets around
the chi-chi bathrooms and bedrooms of the privileged to a soundtrack of
Beyonce's 'Beautiful Nightmare'. As a flipside to this,  a condom full
of chocolate hearts seems to be serving up something sweeter, but
possibly more sickly.

A cartoon bad boy looking somewhere between Hanna-Barbera doing Dr
Seuss and Sergio Aragones reinventing Dennis The Menace for the
counter-cultural age asks the viewer if they think he's wealthy or gay,
then proceeds to throttle himself or else cut out his innards ad
nauseum. Wolfson himself is cast as a leather-jacketed punk fucking the
grass in a Paris park

There's a self-laceratingly playful and almost joyous nihilism pulsing
through all this that basks in its backdrop of urban regeneration even
as it fires off poison darts. Wolfson's own Orson Welles-like cameo
recalls vintage footage of doomed Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, crashing and
burning in public in a way that Wolfson is far too savvy to fall for.

The other pieces on show are smaller and more self-contained, but no
less full of attitude and spunk. The best work is the smallest, as, at
the end of the McLellan Galleries downstairs corridor, a 16mm black and
white silent film shows a dicky-bowed man saying  something or other in
sign language. Only when you realise the speech is the impassioned call
to arms from Charlie Chaplin's 1940 satire on Hitler's rise to power,
The Great Dictator, do Wolfson's provocations fully speak volumes.


The List, April 2014


ends

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