Signs and symbols is pleased to present The Wake The Fck Up Show, a solo exhibition by multimedia artist, filmmaker and activist Jennifer Elster featuring of a variety of conceptual work, photography, video, performance, paintings and words. The exhibition will open on Thursday, October 26th with a reception from 6pm to 8:30pm and a performance by the artist at 102 Forsyth Street. The Wake the Fck Up Show will be on view at the gallery through November 15th, 2018.

Native New Yorker and underground artist Jennifer Elster puts forth a dialogue for our times in her first solo multimedia exhibition in a public space. A survivor of many tragedies, including 9/11, Elster has spent decades working across various mediums with a heavy focus on conceptual video art. Her numerous collaborations with creative visionaries including the late David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Gloria Steinem, the late Glenn O’Brien, Jorgen Leth, Rufus Wainwright, and Questlove, among others, had remained vastly out of the public eye until her 2016 exhibition The Retrospective of an Extroverted Recluse. A guttural response to the political climate, that initial show was culled from a large body of her underground work amassed over her lifetime up until her photographic series, Warfare, which forecasted the impending nuclear crisis. Utilizing that exhibition as the springboard from which to begin sharing her deeply moving, eerily prescient, and at times altogether alarming works created as both reactions to and red flags for the state of our society, Elster now invites audiences to respond to and participate in the conversation as a public extension of her underground happenings.

Elster obsessively explores the auditory power of the spoken word, along with the visual impact of the written word, as a way to deal with the severity of reality. The tension between written phrases and imagery that convey signals of both distress and tenderness reflect a deep and direct awareness of the human condition and our current world crisis.

A direct and ample warning aimed to help America face the dire times they are in and wake the fck up (not excluding myself), I offer a jolt to reality by reflecting reality. My work screams out from my semi-isolated world, attempting to penetrate a predominantly-posed-awake, but actually (as we know) mostly-dormant America. The Wake the Fck Up Show urges viewers to act now during these times of utter corruption which, if neglected, could soon leave us bankrupt of our peace of mind altogether. My work pleas for direct cultural shift and awareness amid masses of Americans who watch on with passivity as we further lose control.

(Jennifer Elster)

Born in New York City, Jennifer Elster is a writer, director, artist, performer, activist and founder of The Development, an underground, multi-faceted studio based in Manhattan. She compulsively explores the boundaries of film and mixed-media art with words, paper, canvases, photographs, audio, video and performance. Also known for her experimental filmmaking, Elster creates both documentaries and fiction works in which she reveals the complexities and psychology of existence which can be at times hilarious and at other times terrifying. Her upcoming film series In the Woods features subjects including Terrence Howard, Will Shortz, Aimee Mullins, Glenn O’Brien, Temple Grandin, Moby and many others, with vocalizations by Yoko Ono. A product of having spent years of deep, and, at times, bizarre excavation into the recesses of her mind and the minds of her subjects, Elster analyzes the depths of human nature and has spent over ten years filming her subjects in the woods. Most recently, Elster wrote a campaign in support of Net Neutrality with Gloria Steinem and created a video campaign for Gun Control, which are both grassroot campaigns under her activism organization Nonpartisan Peace.

Elster has exhibited video art and/or performed at venues such as the New Museum, Catinca Tabacaru, Salon Stux West, Central Booking and West Park among others.