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Artist Bio

Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode (b. 1976, Cape Town, South Africa) was raised in Johannesburg and graduated from the South Africa School of Film, Television and Dramatic Arts, Johannesburg, in 2000. The Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist engages 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.
 
Given his first major museum solo show by Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, in 2007, and Rhode has since had major solo exhibitions at a number of important museums around the world including the Hayward Gallery, London (2008); the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2009); the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2010); the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2013); and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2014). He has participated in notable group exhibitions including New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005; the 51st Venice Biennale (2005); Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); and the 2012 Sydney Biennale. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Miami Art Museum, Florida; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Germany.