July 15 2013
The Canadian artist Jon Rafman has established a reputation as a digital flâneur, replacing the city street with the glare of a Macbook screen. His far ranging projects have seen him give guided tours on Second Life as the Kool-Aid Man, and wrap modern art around the contours of digitally rendered corporate interiors—a bit-mapped Juan Gris painting becomes wallpaper, carpet, ceiling and furniture. Recently, in collaboration with Rosa Aiello he has tackled the essay film in Remember Carthage (2013), bringing together footage from video games with a narrative that combines fact and fantasy in the guise of a historical voyage. The notion of the travelogue is central to Rafman’s most famous work, Nine Eyes of Google Street View (2009-ongoing). The artist tirelessly searches Google street view, capturing images with particular resonance. Rafman replaces his Leica for a laptop, and in doing so he updates the historical model of street photography. Like Jeff Wall on a budget, he has an eye for the surreal, the images are full of absurd and grizzly details: an armed man, an escaped lion and the aftermath of a hit and run. Recent exhibitions at the New Museum and Palais de Tokyo testify to the artist’s growing stature. Jon Rafman has a current solo exhibition at Seventeen gallery in London: an excellent opportunity to take a closer look at this constantly inventive artist. (George Vasey)
Jon Rafman’s solo exhibition “A Man Digging” at Seventeen gallery, London, will run through July 27.