Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present Robin Rhode and Erwin Wurm in the second of a two part summer exhibition examining contemporary photography. In Part II, the gallery has selected Rhode and Wurm, artists not typically classified as photographers, but who both use photography as the physical artwork documenting their performance and public engagement oriented practices.
Robin Rhode (b. 1976, Cape Town, South Africa; lives and works in Berlin) has established his unique practice with a multifold approach, working across media, including drawing, performance, photography, video, and music. As a young artist inspired by the rebellion and possibility of graffiti, he was first drawn to working in public, unsanctioned spaces. Since then, his practice has evolved to become more closely aligned with and influenced by the minimal wall drawings of Sol Lewitt, and the 1970s performance work of artists such as Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman, as well as earlier art historical references such as Eadweard Muybridge’s stop-motion photography. His piece David (2017), was painted, performed, and photographed at a location in Johannesburg the artist has returned to for many years, working with a crew of assistants including a doppelgänger performer whom Rhode photographs activating the serial painting. Rhode emphasizes the reciprocal and collaborative nature of his work, saying, “The reactions and responses of the people on the street, the conditions pervading that particular process—that's part of the narrative."
Erwin Wurm (b. 1954, Bruck an der Mur / Styria, Austria; lives and works in Vienna and Limburg, Austria) explores the formal qualities of sculpture across various media including text, drawing, video, photography and performance. His Idiot I, II, and III (2010) photographs are born of his on-going One Minute Sculptures series. In these works, Wurm gives instructions to participants in the form of texts and drawings, indicating actions to perform. These tasks often require interaction with everyday objects such as chairs, bottles, buckets or fruit, and by their natures are fleeting. By incorporating aspects of sculpture, photography and performance he challenges the formal qualities of the medium as well as notions of sculptural temporality and monumentality. Wurm is interested in the absurdity that can be found in the ordinariness of daily life. He calls into question the viewers’ expectations of reality by incorporating everyday materials and objects in absurd situations or distorting their shape and spatial qualities.