Jon Rafman: Annals of Time Lost

Friday, 19 April 2013

jonrafmanAnnals of Time Lost (Four Ages of Man), 2013, Pigment print on vellum, 75 x 116 cm

Jon Rafman
Annals of Time Lost
April 27 - June 1, 2013

Opening: April 26, 6 - 10 pm

Future Gallery is proud to present Annals of Time Lost, an exhibition of new work by Jon Rafman focusing on the conceptual dissonance of the digital and physical archive.

Google’s self-proclaimed mission “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful” is consistent with the archival notion of accumulating everything; the will to enclose all eras, all forms, in a virtual place of all times that is itself outside of time. The project of organizing an infinite accumulation of our virtual lives betrays the desire to overcome the foundational experience of loss that characterizes modernity. In Annals of Time Lost Jon Rafman engages with this ultimately utopian quest for the complete archive coupled with the anxiety around its ultimate impossibility.

Yet, as Rafman’s work reveals, there is a type of vexing agency, which allowed the archivist in their power to choose; to select, catalogue, and store. The “archivist has to decide what is significant and what is trivial, what is core and what is circumstantial and indeed, as is increasingly asked, if there is there a centre at all. He/she still has to decide what is real or what is ideal in the beloved, ideal, or culture, what is true or what is fiction or what was wished for. Moreover, in the digital world distinguishing between the original and the copy has been increasingly problematic. Thus Rafman develops new methods of engaging with our archives, histories and cultures rather than view them as static collections.” – Sandra Rafman, The Reframing of Loss: Jon Rafman’s Virtual Archives

Annals of Time Lost works towards illuminating the individual’s relationship to the archive and the desire for physical presence. The exhibition is archiving a condition that may not exist decades from now, it is itself a record of the anxiety and considerable unease around where, how and what is the physical self when one is in a social relation in cyberspace. In this way, Rafman’s work asks us to implicate ourselves in this process, as both creator and subject, archivist and archived.

Jon Rafman (1981) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Literature from McGill University and a M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His films and artwork have gained international attention and have been exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, the Saatchi Gallery in London and the New Museum in New York City. Rafman’s work has been featured in Modern Painter, Frieze, Artforum, the New York Times, and Harper's Magazine.