For his exhibition at Kunstverein Hannover, internationally-renowned artist Jon Rafman (b. 1981 in Montréal, where he lives and works) turns the venue’s exhibition space into a tour of several »chapters« providing an overview of various topics his work has touched on in recent years. The Canadian has worked his way through the overwhelming flood of images on the Internet like almost no other artist of his generation. He culls from his source material the digital subcultural codes generated by human consumer behavior in cyberspace and translates them into synaesthetic experiential spaces.
Recent years have seen a total of four themed exhibitions at the Kunstverein Hannover exploring the advent of the digital age—a series that continues with a show of this young, visionary artist and »cyberflaneur« who fathoms the threshold between analogue and digital worlds. Rafman engages with the abysses of the Internet and uses the possibilities of animation without foregrounding an infatuation with the technology. His work poetically addresses a virtual world filled with obsessions, sexual extremes and violent fantasies, but also the loneliness and melancholy that have become increasingly prevalent in our real, everyday lives and in the minds of the coming generation.
For his exhibition at the Kunstverein, Rafman plans to transfer his new opus magnum Dream Journal (2016-2019), a piece created over several years that was recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, to the Kunstverein’s rooms. The work was created through a combination of consciously-perceived dream experiences and the artistic écriture automatique (automatic writing) technique, which the artist directly ties to an already-fixed film plot. The merging of surreal or dreamlike images and traditional narrative structure creates an uncanny cinematic atmosphere that distinguishes many of Rafman’s film works. Visitors to the installation also have access to custom-made vibrating armchairs designed to enhance hallucinatory aspects of the work.
Jon Rafman studied philosophy and literature at McGill University, Montréal (2000-2004) and fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2004-2008). His work featured prominently at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019 and previously at the Sharjah (2017) and Berlin Biennales 2015, among others. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Stedeljik Museum Amsterdam (2016), the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal and the Zabludowicz Collection in London (2015), among others.
The exhibition will be shown in the context of the »Canada in Germany« year (Canada is Guest of Honor at the 2020 Frankfurter Buchmesse, an application was submitted to the Canadian Council).