Rafael Rozendaal


28 April 2006

Rafael Rozendaal has produced a new animation especially for the panoramic video screens of club_restaurant 11. Like all of his internet work, this animation too makes use of the Flash programme.

Flash is for Rozendaal (b. 1980) what oils are for the painter. Like paint and canvas, Flash and the computer screen have certain limitations, but within these boundaries there are an infinite number of possibilities. Moreover, much of Rozendaal’s work is especially made for internet, and thus available for a wider – read, world-wide – audience. ‘I know lots of artists and designers for whom the computer is nothing more than a tool. But my computer is a space, a world, a landscape. You see more in the window of a browser than you see through a real window.’ And in relation to paintings in a museum, he says, ‘You can’t become engrossed in an artwork if there are children and tourists carrying on all around you. The web is the most intimate platform for art that there has ever been.’ Rozendaal’s work is to be found primarily on the internet, at www.newrafael.com. In addition, with comparable animations he makes environments in which people can lose themselves, for instance by having the animations projected on large screens all around them, as can be done on 11.

Despite using the web as his stage, Rozendaal very much seeks inspiration in the great painters of the recent past – from the surrealist René Magritte, for instance, with his distinct visual language with a dash of humour, and of course in the Pop Art of Roy Lichtenstein, who derived his images and bright colours from comic books, among other sources. The work that Rozendaal has made for 11, commissioned by the POSTivisme Foundation on recommendation of the Stedelijk Museum, appears to be specially oriented to an important piece from the Museum’s collection: the monumental, colourful paper collage by Henri Matisse.

Rozendaal’s animation muchbetterthanthis.com shares the broad, eye-catching fields of colour with Matisse’s work, albeit that he has set them in motion. The motif of kissing couples is a more contemporary translation of the restful cheeriness that Matisse’s work radiates. In addition, the animation is of the greatest simplicity, although in this respect Flash can be just as unruly as oil paint can.