Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman makes environments, films, photographs, and sculptures that examine the blurring of the real and virtual. Much of his work focuses on melancholy in modern social interactions, especially within online communities and virtual realities, while still celebrating the beauty of these unique and often intimate expressions of self. As he says, “I’m with them, dancing in the shit.” An expression of solidarity with the virtual revellers who populate his work, from the denizens of Second Life to the furry fetishists of 4chan. Jon can be seen as a kind of amateur anthropologist, exploring the little-known subcultures of the deep web, pausing to sigh at the scenery of a virtual sublime. His work is made from a composite of materials, including video footage, images, texts and quotes that he encounters in his extensive internet research. Occasionally shocking and always engaging, his works force the viewer to enter into uncomfortable and unsettling psychological realms.


The Girl

Lithograph mounted onto acrylic

The Girl

A poster produced for the release of Jon's 2015 techno-punk-fantasy film, Sticky Drama, showing one of the main characters, "The Girl".

Words of Arcady


Words of Arcady

The woods of Arcady are dead, And over is their antique joy; Of old the world on dreaming fed; Grey Truth is now her painted toy; Yet still she turns her restless head: 

Poor Magic


Poor Magic

Poor Magic effects a beautiful yet terrifying rendition of contemporary consciousness, gesturing towards civilisation's listless drift beyond the corporeal, and technology's infinite desire to penetrate and artificially replicate human essence. Computer-generated crowd simulations run berserk in dreamlike repetition, while a 3D endoscopic journey takes us through the body's most intimate passages.

Neon Parallel


Neon Parallel

Part live-action footage, video game sequences, simulated chat, poetic voiceover and virtual landscape, Neon Parallel 1996 is in Rafman’s own words an attempt at creating a “lost vaporwave classic”.

Kool-Aid Man in Second Life

Second Life performance

Kool-Aid Man in Second Life

From 2008-2011, Kool-Aid Man gave tours of the massively multiplayer online game, Second Life. Second Life has no objective, and most of the content on it is exclusively created by players. Kool-Aid Man traverses this seemingly infinite user-created landscape from unpopulated desolate areas, areas replicating beautiful versions of reality, and many places users created as a zone to interact with other users. Several places Kool-Aid Man finds are perverse, serving specific subcultures or fetishes. Kool-Aid Man closely resembles the cartoon character from the popular American drink mix.

Still Life (Betamale)


Still Life (Betamale)

Still Life (Betamale) confronts some of humanity’s newer and more obsessive activities, a deconstructed narrative of all things that may be unique to the web. The video paints a clear picture of the stereotype we associate with 4chan users: smelly men who obsessively consume, produce, and share socially unaccepted media, never AFK. By splicing together footage and images from these online communities, Rafman places the viewer at the centre of a mind-numbing search for meaning in some of the most socially questionable places.

Solo Exhibitions

2017 - 2018 Dream Journals 16 - 17, Sprüth Magers, Berlin

2016 I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

2016 Jon Rafman, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster

2016 Jon Rafman, Carl Kostyál, Stockholm

2015 Jon Rafman, Zabludowicz Collection, London

2015 Jon Rafman, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal

2015 Grand Tour, Feuer/Mesler, New York

2014 The End of the End of the End, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO

2014 Jon Rafman: Mainsqueeze, Plymouth Rock, Zurich

2014 Hope Springs Eternal, galerie antoine ertaskiran, Toronto

2014 Hope Springs Eternal II, galerie antoine ertaskiran, Montréal

2013 Annals of Lost Time, Future Gallery, Berlin

2013 Remember Carthage, New Online Art, New Museum, NY

2013 Remember Carthage, galerie antoine ertaskiran, Montréal

2013 You Are Standing in An Open Field, Zach Feuer Gallery, New York

2013 A Man Digging, Seventeen Gallery, London

2012 Jon Rafman, online exhibition, Palais de Tokyo, Paris

2012 The Nine Eyes of Google Street View, Saatchi Gallery, London

2012 Mirror Sites, International Art Object Galleries and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles

2012 Nine Eyes of Google Street View, Angell Gallery, Toronto

2012 MMXII BNPJ, American Medium, New York

2011 Brand New Paint Job Extended, PM Gallery, Berlin

2011 Brand New Paint Job, Fabio Paris Gallery, Brescia

2010 The Age Demanded, Golden Age, Chicago, IL

Selected Group Exhibitions

2018 Alone together, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal

2018 Blind Faith: Zeitgenössische Kunst zwischen Intuition und Reflexion, Haus der Kunst, Munich

2018 Our Thing, galerie antoine eraskiran, Montréal

2018 Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, ICA – The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA

2017 ARS 17: Hello world!, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki

2017 Unquestionable Optimism, Johannes Vogt, The Barn Show, East Hampton, New York

2017 Dream Machines, James Cohan Gallery, Chelsea, New York,

2017 New Scenario, HOPE, Altana Galerie, Dresden,

2017 Sharjah Biennial 13, Tamawuj, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

2017 Jon Rafman / Stan Vanderbeek, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles

2016 Under Arms. Fire & Forget 2, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main

2016 Omul Negru, Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles

2016 Summer Triangle, OCAT Shenzhen, China

2016 Public, Private, Secret, ICP Museum, New York

2016 Posthumous Lives, Mitchell Anderson - Jon Rafman, Maria Bernheim, Zurich, Switzerland Manifesta 11, Zurich

2016 Frieze NY with Seventeen Gallery, New York

2016 Wil Aballe Art Projects, Vancouver

2016 9th Berlin Biennale, Berlin

2016 Dreaming Mirrors, Dreaming Screens, Sprüth Magers, Berlin

Other Projects

Residencies and Awards