press release

In his video films and installations, the Canadian artist Jon Rafman explores the ‘social applications’ of digital media. His work investigates how the boundless possibilities of the internet and virtual platforms affect and redefine our behavior, social life and even personal identity.

Like a visual anthropologist, Jon Rafman (1981, Quebec) delves into the subcultures of the online world, analyzing the behavior of those who use these alternative, sometimes grotesque universes such as multiplayer video games and 3D virtual communities like Second Life. Oscillating between wit, melancholy and alienation, Rafman’s penetrating and often unsettling video films lay bare a new, hyper-individualized state of mind – the mental landscape inhabited by today’s users of digital technology. Rafman is regarded as one of the leading artists of the digital age, and has a huge online following.

The Stedelijk Museum has invited Rafman to present an installation in two spaces of the lower level gallery. Comprising recent work, the artist will create an environment to transport the viewer - physically and mentally – into a realm populated by avatars, online subcultures and communities that exist in the shadowlands of the internet.

Rafman’s book Nine Lives will be released in summer 2016. Containing a vast array of images culled through Google Street View, the artist presents situations – odd, grim, at times alarming – randomly caught on camera.

The work of Jon Rafman is from June also on view in the Berlin Biënale and on Manifesta 11 in Zürich.


The 2016 exhibition program includes a number of solo presentations of a young generation of artists. Featuring new productions, the exhibits will also tie in with the Stedelijk’s acquisitions policy. The Stedelijk seeks to signal new artistic ideas and developments and be transparent, presenting newly acquired works right away. Our commitment to developing lasting relationships with young artists shapes the future identity of our collection. Later in the year, the Stedelijk will display new works and acquisitions of work by artists including Magali Reus and Loretta Fahrenholz.