Rafaël Rozendaal Navy Officer's Club, Venice Meeting Point 19/04/2022
For more than 20 years, Rafaël Rozendaal has been creating digital and physical works that explore the essence of perception and experience through abstraction, moving image, and interactivity. With Observation, a new immersive installation commissioned by Aorist for the Navy Officer’s Club in Venice, Rozendaal invites visitors to step inside a “contemplative digital waterfall” where a series of compositional experiments reveal hidden patterns and complex forms emerging from the interplay of simple elements: colour, shadow, constraint and flow.
Text by Julia Kaganskiy
Rafaël Rozendaal -- Observations

“It’s almost like the colours have a weight or physical presence, and are fighting for the space they occupy -- moving in sync, like traffic in a dense city.”

Rafaël Rozendaal Observations
19/04/2022 Navy Officer's Club, Venice Meeting Point

Vivid beams of light take on an almost material quality as they move through labyrinthine pathways, propelled as if by some invisible force reminiscent of wind passing through a tunnel. Through the use of mirrors on the walls and floors of the space, the central image jumps off the screen to become a seemingly boundless environment that envelops the viewer in the world of the work, a portal into the digital surround.

A pioneer of Net Art and Post-Internet Art, the screen has been Rozendaal’s primary medium for many years — a studio, canvas, and exhibition space all in one — and it is perhaps not coincidental that Observation evokes the internet’s temporal rhythms and the suspension of time that takes hold when one falls victim to the hypnotic lull of the “endless scroll”. In contrast to Rozendaal’s earliest works, which took the form of bespoke websites, Observation is the latest in a series of installation environments that experiment with how the feeling of total immersion one experiences online can be replicated in the physical world with the simplest combination of elements.

Rozendaal has always been interested in what he calls “pure observation,” in depicting ideas that are not verbal or representative and can only be accessed through the acts of feeling and perceiving. He describes his work as akin to diagrams of energy — manifestations of contradicting movements, intersecting planes and tensions between conflicting elements that follow a simple set of rules but unfold in ways that are often unpredictable. Observation encourages the viewer to slow down and cultivate a meditative practice of close looking and attunement to one’s surroundings, to the passing of time, to the subtle energy flows all around. It is an attempt to communicate the visceral through visual simplicity, to convey feeling through a universal language of colour, form, and motion.

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