Rhode's multiphotograph artworks mimic the sequential structure of Eadweard Muybridge's motion studies of the 1880s. What we see, though, is the artist himself performing for the camera. To make Stone Flag, Rhode mounted the camera on a rooftop, pointed it straight down, then rearranged his body and his props on the ground, adopting a new pose for each shot.
Rhode’s photographic mini-narratives capture the verve of the live performances that are another dimension of his work. Rooted in the street culture of the rough, segregated neighborhoods of Cape Town and Johannesburg, in South Africa, where he grew up, these witty images draw on the codes of hip-hop, fashion, and sports to deliver a powerful punch. In these pictures Rhode wields a sculptural flag made of red clay bricks, appearing to bend it into the wind in celebration of South African democracy. His stark white overalls were designed in 2001 for a collaboration with the rap group Black Noise, in which performers threw handfuls of coal dust on the floor, slowly becoming smeared with dust themselves—a double-edged allusion to upscale sports such as cricket and tennis and to the hard lives of black South African miners.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 259.