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Internet Artist: Rafaël Rozendaal











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by Rafaël Rozendaal

The position of painting is always moving. Painting started in caves, churches, town halls. It was mostly murals. At some point, painting broke free from the wall and onto the canvas. Later, painting broke free from religion and the state and became a place for visual theory—particularly modernism. Currently painting is largely a medium concerned with power and status at the highest level—the most exclusive jewelry.

I am not a traditional artist. I intend to create work that is original and unique in style and presentation. Painting itself has seen different incarnations, from museum murals to small-scale paintings that fit in the homes of the wealthy. I like to draw inspiration from the past. My work has similarities to paintings, in that, like traditional art, netart involves a visual display for the viewing pleasure of the spectator. Because these works are immaterial, they can be seen very privately at home or as a huge installation in a museum. The website can exist anywhere you want, anyway you want. I have no expectations on how people approach my websites. It is a new format, and it still has to find its place. I hope people experience them in many different ways. The websites should not try to be paintings. Paintings are already very good at that.

I take from paintings. I love paintings. It is an instant format, everything happens in a rectangle. (As opposed to long video pieces or installations that take hours to digest). Paintings are great on the Internet too. They make great jpg’s. But what happens when those images start to move? And what if you can interact with them? I am not sure what interaction means, but I have always been intrigued by the possibilities. It seems to catch the viewer’s attention and suck them into the piece. But not all my pieces are interactive. It’s all very intuitive and sometimes I make a piece that moves on its own and sometimes the piece needs your input to come to life.

I am interested in the possibilities of representing what I see around me. A painting of a tree is something other than a tree. We have been able to represent—or record— the world in many different ways; drawing, painting, photos, moving photos, sound. Interactive representation is something new and something else. In my piece http://www.pleasetouchme.com/ you see a blue hand that does not move until you touch it. An interactive picture of a hand is not a movie of a hand. You drag the fingers and they do what you ask them to do. And after a while they move on their own. It’s not a painting or a website or a movie. It’s just art.

Rafaël Rozendaal is a Dutch artist and an important figure in the ever-expanding world of Internet art. Most of his works are single-page websites that visually or interactively engage the viewer. In exhibits, his works are displayed through a projector. In 2010, Rozendaal’s pieces have been shown in Germany, the United States, Japan, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico and Greece.

"muchbetterthanthis.com" image courtesy of the artist.

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