You are standing in an open field. Journeys through virtual landscapes-rooted in the literature of the quest-highlight Jon Rafman's ongoing passion for online exploration and his continuing search for lost loves, ideals or cultures.
Zach Feuer Gallery is pleased to present Jon Rafman's first New York solo exhibition, You are standing in an open field. The show opens September 12 and is on view through October 26.
Journeys through virtual landscapes-rooted in the literature of the quest-highlight Jon Rafman's ongoing passion for online exploration and his continuing search for lost loves, ideals or cultures. In this exhibition, Rafman examines the material forms that memory takes through sculptures, videos and mixed media installations. With intimations of archaeology and anthropology, Rafman highlights the way that we rely on objects, be they artifacts or memorials, to locate our relationship to the past.
This historical impulse to make sacred what is lost becomes all the more urgent when we consider contemporary technologies and online cultures, which disappear faster than LaserDisc or Betamax. Rafman encases not-yet-vanished cultures in the form of sham relics or false monuments in order to both recognize their historical value and to critique contemporary amnesia. In his works, ephemeral cultures meet the solidity of constructed artifact. The artificial ruin becomes shorthand for a certain type of historical remembering, underscoring the dislocation between the form of the memory and the memory itself.
In Rafman's version of archaeology, for example, a large finely engraved stone carving commemorates not fallen war heroes but the names of defunct New York state shopping malls. By using sham ruins to evoke an historical gaze on these contemporary cultural objects, Rafman changes the meaning of both and raises the question of what exactly we are remembering when we visit a museum, when we look at a memorial, or when we click on a broken web-link. His work reveals that we may preserve every indicator of memory, even when we might not be sure exactly which memory is being referenced.
Jon Rafman (b. 1981, Montreal, Canada) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008 and his work has been exhibited at the New Museum in New York, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Saatchi Gallery in London.
Elaine Reichek: November - December
Reception for the artist: Thursday, September 12, 6-8 PM
Zach Feuer Gallery
548 West 22nd Street