Jon Rafman | 'ɐɹqɐpɥǝʞ ɐɹʌɐ' | Neon Parc

Brunswick, 18 Mar.– 29 Apr. 2023


Titled 'ɐɹqɐpɥǝʞ ɐɹʌɐ', an upside-down rendering of “avra kehdabra,” popularized as “Abracadabra” but originating in an ancient Hebrew phrase meaning “I create like the word,” Rafman’s exhibition explores the artistic possibilities of the latest in machine learning text-to-image algorithms. The notion of “creating like the word” has vast historical and literary resonances from Yahweh’s Creation of the Torah preceding the Creation of the World, as described in the Midrash — which would condition the Biblical creation myth: “In the beginning was the Word…” — up through modern literature, for example, Whitman’s “With the twirl of my tongue / I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.” The significance of “creating like the word” is augmented with the text-to-image algorithm with which the works in this exhibition were created. Finally, the inversion of the text is a suggestion to consider this Australian presentation as a mirror site of Rafman’s solo exhibition at Sprüth Magers in London.


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April 14, 2023