© Laura J Gerlach


American interdisciplinary artist Michelle Jaffé creates participatory installations that manifest as sculpture, sound and performative video. Immersed in a visual and sonic environment, these encounters offer people an opportunity to create a synaptic shift in attitude and experience, where new neural connections can be forged.

Jaffé explores how individual psychology and pathology are mirrored in society.  When and where are the borders between terror, abuse and negligence blurred and crossed?  She asks what is shut in, what is shut out? Materials are chosen to amplify and illuminate concept.

For Jaffé's iconic work Wappen Field, chrome plated steel, LED’s, vocal composition and SuperCollider are deployed to create an enveloping installation. Poet Douglas Crase has said “Whether in the immersive dimensions of Wappen Field or the exquisite chamber work Awakening, (an experiential light and soundscape recorded at  Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field),  she has opened apertures on the sublime which render it visible, audible, and imminent.” 

Jaffé shares a sensibility for scale with Jackson Pollock and Richard Serra, as well as a sense for the comedic, a biting edginess and the theatrical with Oskar Schlemmer, Robert Wilson and Pina Bausch.  Conceptually she was profoundly moved by Stanley Kubrick's "2001" and LaMonte Young's "Well Tuned Piano".

Educated as an American teenager in London, Jaffé earned a BA Honours in Fine Arts & French Literature from the University of East Anglia in England. Childhood exposure to Asian art formed her visual sensibility. Eastern depictions of space and their evocation of so much with such economy, informs her work’s formal clarity.

She has exhibited at The New Media Gallery, Vancouver, Duke University, NYCEMF, Beall Center for Art + Technology, WhiteBox, Milton Art Bank, Transylvania University, Indiana University, UICA and solo shows in NY at Bosi Contemporary, Wald & Po Kim Foundation, Susan Berko-Conde Gallery & Brooklyn College. She has been awarded residencies at The Newlyn Gallery and Exchange Museum-UK, MacDowell Colony and Djerassi, and grants from NYSCA and Queens Arts Council. Jaffé's design work is extensively collected by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum at FIT and Museé de la Mode in Paris.


Jaffé's work explores how individual psychology and pathology is mirrored and embedded in society, with a view to stimulate conversation for change. She asks when and where are the borders between terror, abuse and negligence blurred and crossed? Since 2000, her work has engaged with and incorporated armor, both psychic and architectural, culminating in Wappen Field. The direct outgrowth of that inquiry was her focus on the raw emotions, power, and intent conveyed and betrayed by the human voice and facial expression in Neural: Cleave and Soul Junk. She is currently developing Murmur/Mutter/Yell, a new Audio and video installation, bringing into focus the 4th wave of colonization; technology and its moguls exploiting humanity for profit.