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Jon Rafman (B. 1981)
Jon Rafman (B. 1981)

Rv888, Finnmark, Norway - Google View

Jon Rafman (B. 1981) Rv888, Finnmark, Norway - Google View archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper mounted on aluminium 57 3/8 x 91 5/8in. (145.6 x 232.7cm.) Executed in 2010. This work is one of two artist's proofs, aside from an edition of one.
Acquired directly from the artist in 2012.
London, Saatchi Gallery, Project Rooms: Jon Rafman, 2012.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that this work is one of two artist's proofs, aside from an edition of one.

Lot Essay

The premise of Jon Rafman’s ongoing project The Nine Eyes of Google Street View is simple, but the results are beguiling. Rafman scours Google Maps’ gigantic database of Street View images for the most unusual moments captured by its platoon of vehicles and their automated cameras; he finds snapshots of daily life that are by turns comical, touching, morbid and sublime. ‘I was fascinated by how powerfully Street View photographs can represent our contemporary experience,’ Rafman says, ‘the conflict they can express between an indifferent robotic camera and man’s search for connectedness and significance. The photos underscore the tension between an uncaring camera and man’s need to interpret his experience.’ In RV888, Finnmark, Norway, one of the most evocative images produced so far in the series, the complexity of this relationship between man, technology and the world outside is breathtakingly realised: as the edge of the northern Norwegian coast stretches out into the distance, we see a reindeer caught in full flight galloping away from Google’s car and its camera. With its overtones of hunting, the picture recapitulates centuries-old traditions of mankind’s struggle to gain mastery over nature through violence and art, recalling Renaissance hunt works like Paolo Uccello’s The Hunt in the Forest. Indeed, like Uccello’s study in the vanishing point, Rafman’s picture also has its ‘prey’ running into the horizon and away from the viewer in a potent symbol of the project at large: human beings’ desperate attempts to represent, and hence understand, a world that perpetually eludes them.

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