By Lucy Saldavia
In the rising field of Digital Art, Rafaël Rozendaal’s interactive websites, colour-changing paintings, and immersive installations offer a fresh take on the definitions and limits of contemporary art.
Where some artists specialize in oils, and others in sculpture, Dutch-Brazilian artist Rafaël Rozendaal is best known for his work in pixels. His playful websites allow visitors to poke and prod a wobbling red jello mold, or unroll an endless roll of toilet paper, or simply watch an array of colors play across the screen. Some websites are completely abstract, while others contain recognizable shapes and symbols for viewers to manipulate. They are endlessly entertaining, and strangely hypnotic—like arcade games with a conceptual twist. Websites as art may seem a like strange idea at first, but in the growing field of Digital Art, Rozendaal’s work is a pioneering example of the ever-growing opportunities available to artists working with modern technology.
The internet, for Rozendaal, is both his platform and his canvas. Like the works of other artists, Rozendaal’s websites can be bought and sold, but they must remain online and accessible to anyone. Where other works of art can only be reproduced on screen, Rozendaal’s pieces can be viewed and interacted with by anyone, anywhere.
Rozendaal’s ‘lenticular paintings’ are more traditional, but still involve the viewer to create their effect. Using the same technology that makes the figures on baseball cards to appear to move, Rozendaal’s swirls, blotches, and shards of color shift hue and form as viewers walk past. They give the impression of digital animations placed within frames.
As well as his websites and paintings, Rozendaal also creates installations, drawings, haikus, writings, and lectures. His installation works utilize light, reflections, and animations to cultivate an immersive experience, and his writings often explore the nature of his art and the art world in general. In 2010, Rozendaal founded BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamer), an open source series of exhibitions created by artists worldwide. The idea is simple, as the BYOB website explains: “Find a place, invite many artists, and ask them to bring their projectors.” This avant-garde approach to art and exhibitions, utilizing new media and the internet, is typical of Rozendaal’s progressive style. His work has been exhibited at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, at the Venice Biennale, and at numerous smaller galleries across Europe, the United States, and Asia. He has lectured at prestigious universities, including Yale and the École beaux-arts. He currently lives and works in New York City.
Check out some his Internet works:
All Images via © Rafaël Rozendaal