Metaphorical mapping of the soul
An exhibition about Orwell's vision in the ultrasound of time. Big Data meets Big Brother. Google's cartography and the remapping of the self.
In the BURN-IN Gallery, under the artistic direction of Sonja Dolzer, the solo exhibition GEDANKENSTRÖME by Syrian-Austrian artist Rifaae (Refaayi Ahmad) presents itself as a kaleidoscope of emotional and conceptual depth. On display are more than 30 medium-format works created between 2020 and 2023.
Rifaae's art is a metaphorical mapping of his own journey - from his flight from Syria to his arrival and establishment in Austria. Each work is a station on this mapping, a step in the metamorphosis of the artist and his identity. Like a salmon swimming against the current, his early works symbolize the struggle and determination in search of a new habitat. The Salmon cycle reflects not only the physical journey, but also an inner emotional migration.
The search for localization in a new environment manifests itself in the works of the Maps cycle. The maps here are not just geographical representations, but metaphorical landscapes of the feelings and thoughts that are experienced when adapting to a new life.
The Birth cycle ultimately reveals the artist's rebirth in a new culture. It is an artistic manifestation of the development of a new identity that is shaped by both the roots and the new environment.
Rifaae's works are profound and multi-layered. The current ultrasound images from the Birth cycle bear witness to the beauty and uniqueness of each creature. At the same time, the multiple codes in the pictorial space illustrate a mapping of the human being within a precisely defined virtual space. The contrast between the accidentally natural and the already fixed develops a broad arc of tension that gives rise to many associations and generates further scope and diversity. George Orwell's novel 1984, Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse, Google's algorithm, search engines, maps, artificial intelligence - all instruments that attempt to decode the human being and create new realities.
Sonja Dolzer, who was instrumental in shaping the concept of the exhibition, emphasizes the importance of digital transformation and its cultural impact, which is reflected in Rifaae's works. His art, rich with stories of transformation and identity, freedom and oppression, individuality and conformity, paints a multi-layered picture of the human experience in a changing world.
GEDANKENSTRÖME is not just an exhibition, but a profound exploration of human nature in the field of tension between progress and regression, centralization and decentralization; it locates the interface between art, culture and social reality. It is a show that challenges both intellectually and emotionally, revealing the conflict between individual uniqueness and social classification.
Whoever controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.
BURN-IN invites you to the exhibition opening on 12. January 2023 6 pm.
BURN-IN Galerie im Gerngross 2. OG | 1070 Vienna, Mariahilfer Straße 42-48
In the digital era, where every movement can be mapped, every click saved and every face recognized, Rifaae's work challenges us to a new way of viewing. In the exhibition THOUGHT STREAMS, the artist interweaves Google Maps, codes and ultrasound images to create a network that simultaneously observes and monitors. It is a world of seemingly perfect organization in which the need for constant evaluation and intelligent questioning becomes apparent. Rifaae's works are not only a representation of digital transformations, but also an invitation to look deeper - because the first glance at an ultrasound image does not always reveal the true gender of the sitter.
In this collection of artistic investigations, changes of perspective and deep immersion in the subject matter prove to be the key to revealing what is hidden. The Birth cycle is a shining testimony to his confidence. Despite the scars left by the past, the artist looks resolutely to the future. Diversity, the critical examination of relevant themes and a sometimes provocative approach in an artistic context testify to inner strength and bring wide recognition. These works are not only a personal document of his growth, but also a universal narrative about the transformation that everyone carries within them.
Rifaae is an artist whose name is yet to find much resonance on the international stage. His works speak a language that appeals to private and institutional collectors, a language that speaks of a profound human experience and an unshakeable hope for the future. With THOUGHT STORMS, BURN-IN demonstrates how art has the ability not only to depict digital transformation, but also to question it and open up new levels of understanding. Rifaae's oeuvre is an unequivocal commentary on our times and a bright signal for the role of art in the digital society.