Rhode hits London streets

South African art lovers have long known that Robin Rhode's stop-motion street-inspired art is too cool for school, now he's hit London.
Posted 1 Nov 08 By Design Indaba Creative Work / Design News Comments

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South African art lovers have long known that Robin Rhode's stop-motion street-inspired art is just too cool for school. And now London and the world are about to be given a cold shower of charcoal rain.

Robin Rhode: Who Saw Who is showing at The Hayward until December 7 - alongside the Andy Warhol retrospective, no less. Working with iconic images from street lore, including hip-hop hoodies, graffiti, skateboarding and turntables, the Warhol-Rhode match is fitting.

However, while Warhol has always celebrated the singularity of mass production, Rhode sifts the mass production for individual permutations. Raised in Johannesburg, Rhode's playful style comes from spending time on the streets and being forced to make your own fun. Using simple materials such as chalk, spray paint and charcoal, Rhode turns the pavements, streets and walls of the city into his canvas, creating his own reality in the heart of urban society.

"Rhode's work presents life as a game, with fantastical scenarios that ask the viewer to trust in their own imaginations to bridge the gaps. But these seemingly lighthearted works often disguise a darker subtext, including issues of urban poverty, freedom and personal space, and the commodification of youth cultures," comments Ralph Rugoff, director of The Hayward.

Curated by Stephanie Rosenthal, chief curator at The Hayward, the exhibition offers an overview of Rhode's work from the past 10 years, as well as a number of new pieces. Rhode will also create new commissions for the show in the form of outdoor, site-specific works on and around the Southbank Centre, turning the whole site into his working "studio". These works will be documented and incorporated into the exhibition.