“As a South African,” Rhode says, “I feel obligated to create my own history by working with certain everyday materials that embody a sociopolitical narrative … This is my motivating force: I have to tell these stories … My voice will be heard. You can take away everything—I’m still going to make art. I’m not dependent on the economy, on the material, on the ideas. I’ve made art with chalk and on concrete walls, and I’m still going to do it.”
In Rhode’s gravity-defying videos—staged in locations that include city streets, his studio, and his family’s backyard—actors interact with chalk and charcoal drawings of everyday objects (chairs, pianos, bicycles, basketballs, skateboards) as if they were real. His dynamic narratives set up a dialogue between high art and popular culture, incorporating references to graffiti, art history, and recent political and social events.