opening: 30 October, 17.00 - 19.30
Upstream Gallery is proud to present Mechanical Paintings, Rafaël Rozendaal’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Rozendaal has made a name with his artworks in the form of websites, and more recently NFTs, and throughout his career has been investigating ways to translate these digital images into physical artworks. With his new series, Rozendaal explores yet another way of capturing the virtual into the physical world. Mechanical Paintings consists of digital drawings turned into tangible, mechanical, paintings made through the application of enamel on steel. The traditional craftsmanship of enameling on steel builds on Rozendaal’s previous takes on transitioning his online work to the material world. One may quickly recall the artist’s tapestry works, or his lenticulars.
In the paintings, Rozendaal explores the abstraction of everyday objects and scenes through the lens of the early internet’s innocence and optimism, whereby positioning the internet as a place waiting to be discovered, rather than one used as a political or commercial tool. The Mechanical Paintings additionally play with the beauty and perspective of early video games. The abstraction of the images leaves the viewer with the suggestion, or even creation, of movement, as though the places represented are waiting on something to happen in them. The viewer is left captivated with anticipation, much like before the start of a videogame, or as the artist puts it – ‘the suggestion of movement is actually more interesting than animating it’. The works are somewhere between digital and physical, between movement and still, between abstract and figurative.
Rozendaal’s choice of colour stems from the digital too. The artist’s visual language includes bold colors with high contrasts and saturations. The artist recalls the necessity for this color choice at the beginning of his career – when as a net artist one had to consider the quality variations of the devices the viewers used to interact with the works of art. Where the colors of screens change over time, increasing in brightness and resolution, enamel is a very old technique that creates permanent colors. They are supposed to last forever, even in bright sun. The heavy, metal works contrast with the spontaneous and playful compositions. Rozendaal herewith emphasizes the different qualities of physical and virtual life, which increasingly overlap.
Rafaël Rozendaal (1980) is a Dutch-Brazilian artist who currently lives in New York. His work is regularly exhibited in Europe, the USA, Asia and South-America. He has worked with institutions such as the Centre Pompidou, Kunstverein Frankfurt, Seoul Art Fair, Media Art Institute and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. He is a regular speaker on digital art topics and his work is discussed in international publications such as Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Flash Art and Interview. Rozendaal is also the founder of the exhibition concept Bring Your Own Beamer, an evening where artists bring their own projectors to display their digital work. Since 2010 there have been over 100 BYOB exhibitions, including one at the Venice Biennale.
Rozendaal’s work has been exhibited, amongst others, at the following venues: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (USA), Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR), Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL), Kunstverein Frankfurt, (DE), Kawasaki City Museum,Kawasaki (JP), New Museum, New York (NY, USA), Nam June Paik Art Center Seoul (KOR), Hammer Museum Los Angeles (USA), Kunsthal Rotterdam (NL), MOTI Museum Breda (NL), Times Square Midnight Moments New York (NY, USA), Telfair Museum, Savannah (GA, USA), Centre d’Art Bastille, Grenoble (FR), With Project Space, New York (NY, USA) and Towada Art Center (JP).