Robin Rhode

Berlin-based South African artist Robin Rhode uses public space as a stage for his highly visual work.

Robin Rhode was born 1976 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist 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 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. 

He has had major solo and group exhibitions at a number of important museums around the world such as Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, Germany, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, USA, Who Saw Who, Hayward Gallery, London, UK. Furthermore he has participated at 51st International Venice Biennale, Italy, Biennale of Sydney, Australia, The New Orleans Biennial, USA. 

Public collections: Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH), Paris, France, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, USA, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA