Rafael Lozano-Hemmer was born in 1967 in Mexico City. In 1989, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical Chemistry from Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. Though he did not pursue the sciences as a direct career, it has influenced his work in many ways, providing conceptual inspiration and practical approaches to create his work. He lives and works in Montréal, Canada.
Lozano-Hemmer is known for creating large-scale interactive installations in public spaces at the intersection of architecture and performance throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Using robotics, real-time computer graphics, custom software, film projections, positional sound, internet links, cell phone interfaces, video and ultrasonic sensors, LED screens, cameras, tracking systems, and often employing vanguard technologies, his “Antimonuments” are inspired by phantasmagoria, carnival and animatronics. His light and shadow works challenge traditional notions of site-specificity and focus on the idea of creating relationship-specific work through connective interfaces. His smaller-scale “Subsculptures” and his work in photography, video and installation explore themes of surveillance, perception, and deception. Since his emergence in the 1990s, Lozano-Hemmer has mixed the disparate fields of digital media, robotics, medical science, performance art and lived experience into interactive artworks.
His large-scale interactive installations have been commissioned for various international events such as the memorial for the Tlatelolco Student Massacre in Mexico City in 2008, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and the pre-opening exhibition of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi in 2015. Recently, he has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum (New York, USA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, USA), Fundación Casa de Mexico en España (Madrid, Spain), Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico city, Mexico), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (USA), MUAC Museum (Mexico City, Mexico), Museum of Contemporary Art (Montreal, Canada) and Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia). Lozano-Hemmer was the first artist to officially represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He has also shown at Art Biennials and Triennials in Havana, Istanbul, Montréal and many others. Collections holding his work include the MoMA in New York, the Tate in London and the AGO in Toronto. Lozano-Hemmer has received two BAFTA British Academy Awards for Interactive Art, a Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica, “Artist of the year” Rave Award from Wired Magazine and a Rockefeller fellowship, to only name a few.