Jon Rafman

Player Character

February 28 — May 23, 2024

A visionary interpreter of the troubled human mind, of the streams of consciousness and the anxieties of the present, Jon Rafman (b. 1982) explores the all-encompassing impact of the virtual within the representation of our time. Through an immense vocabulary drawing from internet culture, virtual world, video games and insinous areas of the web, Rafman creates surreal and absolute landscapes in which he nourishes a constant sense of loss and alienation, of instinct and memory, of resurrection and death, of extreme sacrifice and rebirth. In a world oppressed by obsession, paranoia, a sense of emptiness and loss, the artist leads us into the most concealed realms of the web, among the viscous drives that replace reality and at the same time embody it.

The exhibition is curated by CURA.
The exhibition architecture is designed by BB.

Jon Rafman’s first monographic book published by CURA. and designed by Dan Solbach will be launched in Spring 2024.
A lecture performance by the artist will be held at Soho House Roma on the 27th of February (members and on invitation only).


On view through March 29, 2024

Minor Daemon Volume 1, 2022
Single-channel HD Video with stereo sound
Music: James Ferraro

The film is screening Wednesday – Saturday, from 2:30 pm until 7 pm.
Runtime: 1 hour and 28 minutes

2:30 pm / 4:00 pm / 5:30 pm

Minor Daemon, Vol. 1 (2021) is set in a surreal dystopia that feels like the deranged fever dream of Hieronymus Bosch if he grew up on 4chan, and traces the intersecting fortunes of two young men, Billy and Minor Daemon, who share an extraordinary gift for virtual reality gaming and go through a series of nightmarish events. Billy, a spoiled frat boy, is the top dog at an elite prep school. Minor Daemon, abandoned at birth, is a guileless asthmatic raised in a child labor compound. After a nightmarish sequence of events, the two are incarcerated at the same supermax penitentiary. They join forces and catapult their VR prison team to the league championships, where a victory will secure their freedom. After a devastating defeat in the grand finals, the two men then plan an intricate escape. Billy ends up betraying Minor Daemon during a bungled prison break, and flees to a remote pleasure planet. There Billy climbs the ladder of an intergalactic criminal underworld, as Minor Daemon suffers through the horrors of prison life. When he’s finally released years later, Minor Daemon, obsessed with vengeance, tracks Billy down to the violent alien planet. In a place where dreams are paid for in blood, Billy and Daemon face-off in an ultimate showdown that will seal their fate.

April 03–April 20, 2024
Punctured Sky, 2021
Single-channel HD Video with stereo sound

A piece of a gamer’s past vanishes without a trace, triggering a quest for answers. Along the way, he encounters uncanny obstacles and part-human avatars – meticulously crafted from found pixels and cyber history – which call his own recollections of youth into question. Early internet aesthetics collide with the dark edges of online folklore, creating an unsettling yet deeply funny commentary on how technology pervades and mediates our humanity, memory, and concept of self.


April 24–May 23, 2024
Dream Journal, 2019

Jon Rafman’s Dream Journal 2016-2017 is a video installation that explores the effects of technology and information overload on the contemporary psyche. The project initially arose from the artist’s daily practice of animating his dreams using hobbyist 3D software. In Dream Journal, two young female protagonists – one of them an archetypical millennial, the other a kid-warrior – embark upon a Dantean journey through a succession of absurd dystopian landscapes. The film’s fractured storyline weaves together deep-web imagery with classical epic tropes and repressed libidinal fantasies to create a nightmarish vision of an internet addict’s unconscious. Experimental electronic musicians Oneohtrix Point Never and James Ferraro composed the soundtrack. The video installation is completed with shag carpet and anthropomorphized sculptural seating. Rafman is recognized for his interdisciplinary practice that spans photography, sculpture, video, virtual reality, and installation. His work explores the impact of technology on contemporary consciousness, incorporating the rich vocabulary of online worlds to create poetic narratives that critically engage with the present.

The film is screening Wednesday – Saturday, from 2:30 pm until 7 pm.
Runtime: 1 hour and 28 minutes

2:30 pm / 4:00 pm / 5:30 pm

Media partner

We drink
Rebel’s Brewery
Sfera Litro

Jon Rafman, Player Character, Installation view Basement Roma
Courtesy: the artists and Sprüth Magers
Photo: Roberto Apa © Jon Rafman