Neon Parc acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung as the Traditional Owners and sovereign custodians of the Country on which we operate. We pay our deepest respects to their Elders past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

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Jon Rafman
‘ɐɹqɐpɥǝʞ ɐɹʌɐ’
18 Mar.–29 Apr.

Neon Parc is thrilled to announce ‘ɐɹqɐpɥǝʞ ɐɹʌɐ’, the Australasian debut of internationally renowned Canadian artist Jon Rafman in Melbourne.

Jon Rafman (b. Montreal, 1981) is acclaimed for a multifaceted oeuvre encompassing video, animation, photography, sculpture, and installation. Exhibiting internationally since 2012, Rafman’s recent works often investigate digital technologies and the communities they create, focusing on the losses, longings, and fantasies that shape our technology-infused lives today.

Titled ‘ɐɹqɐpɥǝʞ ɐɹʌɐ’, an upside-down rendering of “avra kehdabra,” popularized as “Abracadabra” but originating in an ancient Hebrew phrase meaning “I create like the word,” Rafman’s exhibition explores the artistic possibilities of the latest in machine learning text-to-image algorithms. The notion of “creating like the word” has vast historical and literary resonances from Yahweh’s Creation of the Torah preceding the Creation of the World, as described in the Midrash — which would condition the Biblical creation myth: “In the beginning was the Word…” — up through modern literature, for example, Whitman’s “With the twirl of my tongue / I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.” The significance of “creating like the word” is augmented with the text-to-image algorithm with which the works in this exhibition were created. Finally, the inversion of the text is a suggestion to consider this local presentation as a mirror site of Rafman’s solo exhibition at Sprüth Magers in London.

Presented across Neon Parc’s Brunswick gallery, Jon Rafman’s exhibition will include the artist’s major video work ‘Punctured Sky’ (2021); the 5-channel video installation ‘Counterfeit Poast’ (2023), as well as a suite of algorithmically generated paintings which utilise the nuanced vocabulary of text to image AI generated compositions.

Exhibitions (2)
Biography Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman’s recent solo exhibitions include Sprüth Magers, London (2023), Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2022); Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2022); Ordet, Milan (2022); La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2021); Centraal Museum, Utrecht (2020); Fondazione Modena Arti Visive (2018); Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2017); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016); Westfälischer Kunstverein, Muenster (2016); Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal (2015); and The Zabludowicz Collection, London (2015).

Jon Rafman’s works have been featured in prominent international group exhibitions, including Centre Pompidou-Metz (2022); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2021); Belgrade Biennale (2021); the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Sharjah Biennial (2019 and 2017); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2018); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (2017); K11 Art Shanghai (2017); Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2017); Berlin Biennial 9 (2016); Manifesta Biennial for European Art 11 (2016); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2015); Biennale de Lyon (2015); and Fridericianum, Kassel (2013).

Rafman’s work is held in prominent public and private collections worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Burger COLLECTION, Hong Kong; Zabludowicz Collection, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Museo d’arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome; Dallas Art Museum, Dallas; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; RBC Collection, Toronto; Kadist Foundation, Paris and San Francisco; Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf; Banque Nationale, Montreal; Fosun Foundation Collection, Shanghai; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.