Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce the gallery’s first year participating in Art Rio with a curated presentation of works by the Berlin-based artist Robin Rhode, in the fair’s SOLO Projects, section S4.
Included in Art Rio are three recent works by the South African born artist. This recent series culminates Rhode’s well-known work engaging the public through cooperative visual and performance art, documented through c-print photographs, at a wall in Johannesburg where he and his team have worked since 2011.
Rhode has established his unique practice with a multifold approach, working across media, including drawing, performance, photography, video, and music. As a young artist inspired by the rebellion and possibility of graffiti, he was first drawn to working in public, unsanctioned spaces. Since then, his practice has evolved to become more closely aligned with and influenced by the minimal wall drawings of Sol Lewitt, and the 1970s performance work of artists such as Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman, as well as earlier art historical references such as Eadweard Muybridge’s stop-motion photography.
This duality of art historic reference coupled with current day themes is exemplified in works like Paradise (2016), included in the presentation, which references the color wheel while drawing inspiration from Claude Monet’s palette. Within Rhode's career trajectory there is an evident evolution in the application of mark onto the surface. This is most pertinent in the current age of art making where the lines of digitized and traditional art continue to be blurred. While Rhode’s work emphasizes geometry and mathematical forms, similar to a digital approach, his work comes alive on the streets, where he is drawn to work, as a signifier of order and logic amidst chaos.
Robin Rhode (b. 1976, Cape Town, South Africa; lives and works in Berlin) engages photography, performance, drawing, and sculpture in creating visual narratives that are brought to life using quotidian materials such as soap, charcoal, chalk, and paint. Rhode came of age in the newly post-apartheid South Africa, and was exposed to new forms of creative expression motivated by the spirit of the individual rather than dictated by a political or social agenda. The growing influence of hip-hop, film, and popular sports on youth culture as well as the community’s reliance on storytelling in the form of colorful murals encouraged the development of Rhode’s hybrid street-based aesthetic. Rhode is best known for his photographic series that documents a sole protagonist interacting with murals the artist painted on public walls in Johannesburg and Berlin. In the succession of photographs, the movements of the actor appear to alter the two-dimensional renderings, compressing space and time and transforming the urban landscape into a fictional storyboard. Melding individual expressionism with broader socioeconomic concerns, Rhode’s work reveals a mastery of illusion, a rich range of historical and contemporary references, and an innate skill for blending high and low art forms.
Rhode studied at the University of Johannesburg as well as at the Association of Film and Dramatic Arts (AFDA), from 1996 to 2001. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized by Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2017); Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, GA (2016); The Drawing Center, New York (2015); Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY (2014); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2013); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2010); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2009); Hayward Gallery, London (2008); and Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2007). Select group exhibitions and biennials/triennials featuring his work include Synthesize: Art + Music, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, FL (2017); Shifting Views: People and Politics in Contemporary African Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, MD (2016-2017); PERFORMA 15, Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode, New York (2015), Making Africa. A Continent of Contemporary Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany, traveled to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2015); DRAWING NOW. Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2015), GOLD, Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2014); Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); and New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005). Rhode has participated in multiple biennials/triennials, including the Busan Biennale (2017), the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan (2005) and the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Miami Art Museum, Florida; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Rhode has received numerous awards, including the Young Artist Award 2011, A.T. Kearney, Germany, the Illy Prize, Art Brussels, Belgium, and ars viva 05/06 Identität/Identity Award, Berlin.