Robin Rhode (b. Cape Town, 1976) is a South African artist based in Berlin, Germany. He studied Fine Art at Technikon Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, followed by a postgraduate program at AFDA, the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance in Johannesburg.
Rhode is a multidisciplinary artist who engages in 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 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 often returns to his native South Africa, creating work in the streets of Johannesburg. An outstanding characteristic of his works is his addressing of social concerns in a playful and productive manner, incorporating these issues into his practice without simplifying or judging them.
Robin Rhode is represented by Lehmann Maupin, New York (USA) and Hong Kong; Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg (South Africa); Tucci Russo, Torre Pellice (Italy).