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Projections by Julie Rafalski

Projections by Julie Rafalski
Flavin’s Ghost, 2012.

art:i:curate artist Julie Rafalski talks about her series of works that reveals the artist’s ongoing engagement with the output of key American icons such as architect Mies van der Rohe and painter Ellsworth Kelly. 

 

 

In her body of work, Rafalski sources images from art history books and encyclopedias centered around the themes of art, architecture, and design of the modernist era and creates a playful dialogue between the utopian images of the present and the past by loading the visual language of modernism with new layers of meaning. Fragmented and folded images, often reformed and altered in terms of scale, highlight the marginal elements of the sourced material and hence forge a critical approach to the noble past through the generation of a series of new meanings. 

 

Second – hand books have become a core element of Rafalski’s artistic practice. The artist explains: “These books are artifacts in themselves. They serve as a document not only of the architecture but of the time they were published as well (…) A book designed in the 70s has a certain feel to it. This feel then becomes another context for looking at the subject matter of the book.” Apart from the imagery preserved within these books, it is interesting to understand and further explore the ways these conventions recycle and still appear in the contemporary in spatial as well as in more abstract ways of how we relate with the time and space that surround us. 

 

 

Projections I, 2014. Giclée print on archival paper 33 x 48 cm.

Limited edition of 30, signed and numbered by the artist, £75.

 

 

Projections III, 2014. Giclée print on archival paper 42 × 59 cm.

Limited edition of 30, signed and numbered by the artist, £95.

 

 

In Projections, a series of large limited edition prints, images of Mies van der Rohe’s interiors have been overlaid with brightly-colored geometric shapes that demarcate a superimposed space. These shapes, as if in dialogue with van der Rohe’s architectural language, are a silhouette outline of an alternative constructed space that could exist within his architecture. Other pieces show reconstructed images of the American colour field painters Ellsworth Kelly and Barnett Newman. Rafalski adopts a humoristic approach, which manifests itself in misquoting certain artists’ visual language or entering into a visual dialogue with well-known artworks. Among the artworks featured is the piece Flavin’s Ghost, which consists of two photographic prints that show a floor reflection of a Dan Flavin neon piece. The reflection is doubled to create a ghostlike image. The work Konfetti, on the other hand, was made by punching holes in a poster of an Yves Klein painting. 

 

 

Julie Rafalski in her artist studio.

 

 

Julie Rafalski holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago and an MFA from the Slade School of Art, London. She currently lives and works in London. 

 

 



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