Robin Rhode (b. 1976, Cape Town, South Africa) was raised in Johannesburg and graduated from the South Africa School of Film, Television and Dramatic Arts, Johannesburg, in 2000. The Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist engages a variety of visual languages such as photography, performance, drawing and sculpture to create arrestingly beautiful narratives that are brought to life using quotidian materials such as soap, charcoal, chalk and paint. Coming of age in a newly post-apartheid South Africa, Rhode 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. His strategic interventions transform urban landscapes into imaginary worlds, compressing space and time, as two-dimensional renderings become the subject of three-dimensional interactions by a sole protagonist, usually played by the artist or by an actor inhabiting the role of artist. Melding individual expressionism with broader socio-economic 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.


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