January 9 – February 6, 2016
Opening reception: January 9, 6-8
Steve Turner is pleased to present Abstract Browsing, Rafaël Rozendaal’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will consist of Jacquard woven tapestries and an installation of haiku wall paintings. As an avid explorer of the Internet, Rozendaal finds inspiration within its inner workings. Using a plugin that he created which enables him to view the bare structure of any website, he looks at hundreds of websites every day hoping to select a single one that will become the basis for a tapestry. He looks for unusual compositions—those that an artist would not have made—and aims to discover “weird hybrids of human design and machine optimizing.” He likens pixels on a computer screen to stitches on a weaving and uses bright colors to achieve maximum impact.
While Rozendaal’s weavings are complicated to produce, his haiku wall works are exceedingly simple, consisting of vinyl letters applied directly to the wall. Rozendaal also finds that haiku is particularly suited to presentation on the Internet: They fit into a tweet and can be shared and reblogged. The Internet allows for ample free access to the best texts, images, films and music, all the things that matter to Rozendaal. Similarly, it is a place that enables him to publish whatever comes to mind, to share his art with the world. However, like the tapestries that make the image of the abstracted website stand still, haiku texts are motionless when presented on a wall. The Internet is a hectic place of constant activity while an exhibition offers the opportunity for quiet concentration and contemplation. The room is empty of everything except the haiku. According to Rozendaal, “artifacts deteriorate, words are forever.”
Rafaël Rozendaal (born 1980, Amsterdam) first rose to prominence over ten years ago by using the internet as a venue for the websites he created as pure art. He subsequently has created related lenticular paintings and room installations that incorporate websites. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam (2014); Postmasters Gallery, New York (2013 & 2015) and Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2012 & 2014). In 2015, one of his websites was presented nightly on multiple screens in Times Square, New York. He lives and works everywhere.
In his multifaceted practice, Rozendaal utilizes the electronic screen to create work that resides somewhere between painting and animation. He creates websites as individual works of art, each having a title that also serves as its domain name. Though collectors may buy his websites, Rozendaal stipulates in his Art Website Sales Contract that the sites must remain on public view. His installations involve oscillating light and reflections that transform his online works into spatial experiences.
Born in Amsterdam in 1980, Rafaël Rozendaal has had solo exhibitions at Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2012, 2014 & 2016); Spencer Brownstone, New York (2010), TSCA Gallery, Tokyo (2010), Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam (2010) and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2006). His works were presented on the world’s largest LED screen in Seoul Square (2012, curated by Lauren Cornell) and have been included in the Internet Pavillion at the Venice Biennial (2009) and the Valencia Biennial (2005). He also participated in Maps for the 21st Century at the DLD Conference in Munich (2012, curated by Johannes Fricke & Hans Ulrich Obrist). He lives and works everywhere.
Internet Explorer., AQNB, January 1, 2016
Noémie Jennifer, Abstract Browser Tapestries Reimagine Surfing the Net, The Creators Project, January 12, 2016
Grant Johnson, Critics’ Picks, Artforum, January 20, 2016
Karen Kedmey, Rafaël Rozendaal’s New Tapestries Turn His Social Media Feeds into Colorful Abstractions, Artsy, January 20, 2016