Robin  Rhode

Robin Rhode

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Born in 1976

Lives & works in Berlin, Germany

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Collected by museums and foundations


Presentation of the artist

Robin Rhode was born in 1976 in Cape Town, South Africa. He received a BFA from Witwatersrand Technikon in Johannesburg in 1998 and studied in 2000 at the South African School of Film in Johannesburg. In 1997 Rhode began to co-opt public spaces throughout Johannesburg with his guerrilla-style performances and drawings, addressing such issues as race, violence, urban politics, and the boundaries of art. Rhode, and later other stand-in figures (always anonymous and male), interact with objects drawn on the concrete walls and tarmac grounds of the city. In two early examples of such works, he struggles to ride a bicycle chalked onto a stucco wall in Classic Bike (1998) and tries to break into a drawn car in Car Theft (1998).

In 1998 Rhode began to photographically document his performances, producing compelling series available for exhibition in galleries and eventually prompting his use of animation. Over the course of the twelve photographs in He Got Game (2000), the figure accomplishes an acrobatic slam-dunk into a hoop drawn on the ground. Rhode soon began to enact his performances within galleries and museums, famously drawing a urinal onto a gallery wall in South African National Gallery in Cape Town and urinating on it in Leak (2000); he signed the work “R. Moet” in homage to Duchamp signing his famed Fountain (1917) as “R. Mutt.” In 2002 Rhode moved to Berlin; while he responded to the Berlin's layered political and artistic history, the artist continued to focus on the dynamics of urban South Africa. In his animations, Rhode sends kids into tumultuous play on a drawn merry-go-round in Marongrong (2002) and on a chalked bicycle in New Kids on the Bike (2002). Rhodes' Gun Drawings(2004) directly relate to urban violence but also invite broad interpretations through titles like Desert Rabbits, Junky Funky Kids, Sculpture, and F.B.I'S. Racial conflict and color theory are simultaneously addressed in Color Chart (2004–06). In Storyteller (2006) and Promenade (2008), a dancer and an ever-multiplying animated wall drawing respond to one another as well as to the ambient soundtrack. Rhode amplified his intended disorientation of two and three dimensions and the laws that govern them in the animation Empty Pockets (2008), in which real people attempt to play billiards on an upside-down drawn pool table as the chalked balls float about the picture plane.

Rhode has had solo exhibitions organized by the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachussetts (2004), Haus der Kunst in Munich (2007), White Cube in London (2008), and Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus (2009). His work has been included in major group exhibition such as Venice Biennale (2005), Taipei Biennial (2006), Cape Town Biennial (2007), and New Orleans Biennial (2008). He lives and works in Berlin.

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Nationality : South Africa

Photography Drawing Installations Performances Contemporary Art