LUCERNE.- For Robin Rhode (b. 1976), who grew up in South Africa as part of the post-apartheid generation, reflection on politics, social hierarchies and the search for identity are central. His treatment of figure, dimension, space and time, his combination of drawing, street art, performance and photography are unique. Subtly and inconspicuously, the artist stages his stories in the public space, on walls, in squares and side-alleys. In photographic documentations his artistic interventions find their way into the exhibition spaces. For his exhibition Rhode Works Robin Rhode combines conceptual art and subculture, and establishes a connection between the beginnings of photography to comics. The artist stages his objects, drawn directly on the wall, with his own body, and captures these in photographs. With their sheer size, his drawings also involve the audience in a performance. The relationship between subject and object is reinterpreted: the drawn objects become active figures, and act out apparently established physical laws through a sequential narrative.
In the work Birdman (2014) Rhode presents us a saxophonist in a reddish suit hovering next to the enormous wing of a bird. The wing becomes one with the character, acting as an extension of the musicians arm. This work can exemplary stand for the multi-layered meanings in Robin Rhodes works as well as for his large palette of themes: The work is named after the famous Jazz musician Charlie Parker, who was affectionately nicknamed Bird or Yardbird. Music in this piece becomes a rhythmic source of inspiration where the yard is the creative site, as in Rhodes art as well.
The large-scale photographic series Fountain (2014) comprises a pyramidal form of 15 champagne goblets. Barbed wire has replaced the bubbly liquor that would ordinarily be seen pouring over them -its curving wires accentuating the lines that drip down like blackened liquid. The drawing of the wire spiralling down towards the ground adds a sculptural element to the pictures.