Robin Rhode was born 1976 in Cape Town and grew up in the South African Johannesburg – a city with the highest crime rate in the world. Already in 1997 Rhode began to work artistically – his source of inspiration and the arena for his art was, and still is today, the street.
Whether a wall in Johannesburg or a pavement in Berlin – Rhode temporarily occupies surfaces found in public spaces, draws objects with chalk on these and then interacts with the drawings: He draws a bicycle on the floor and tries to push it; he draws a car on a wall and tries to break into it with a crowbar.
These unique connections between drawing and performance are characteristic for Robin Rhode’s art: The imaginary drawn space becomes reality because the artist treats it like reality. A central theme in his art is thereby the common human trait of wishful thinking, a desire for something; in his performance "The Score" it is a live appearance of a band: Rhode draws trumpet, bass and drum kit on a wall and then ‘plays’ – along to appropriate melodies and sounds that run in the background – on these instruments. Through his interaction with the merely imagined and drawn, Rhode creates a whole new, artistic reality, which is its own fulfilment: "Sometimes if you have nothing, you actually have everything." (Robin Rhode)
While Rhode’s early works only play with the tangibility of objects, this is redeemed in his sculptural works; they have reached the physical condition of an object. However, Rhode only allowed for a limited lifespan: In his work "Soap and Water" (2007), for example, next to a bicycle made from pastel green soap he places a tin bucket full of water – if you clean the bike it will dissolve into soapy water…
"Walk Off" is Robin Rhode’s first comprehensive exhibition in Europe. Drawings, photographs, animations and sculptures are on display a.o. – complemented by an action room, where Rhode will produce a wall drawing and develop a performance together with the dancer Jean-Baptiste André and the composer Thomas Larcher. Robin Rhode lives and works in Berlin and Johannesburg.