Lehmann Maupin is pleased to return to Frieze London with a solo presentation of works by the South African born, Berlin based artist, Robin Rhode. An accomplished multi-disciplinary artist, Rhode has held public performances and shot on location in cities across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and is known for his photographic series that document a sole protagonist interacting with murals painted by the artist on public walls in Johannesburg and Berlin. For his Frieze London presentation, Rhode will show new works shot in the West Bank among other recent pieces. Concurrent with the fair, Rhode’s solo exhibition, Memory is the Weapon, will be on view at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany.
Rhode’s multifaceted approach, working across media such as drawing, performance, photography, video, and music, fundamentally informs his unique practice that reveals a mastery of illusion and an innate skill for blending high and low art forms. Increasingly evident in his work is Rhode’s dedication to working with material and subject matter that is nuanced, politically aware, and relevant to art history.
The streets of Johannesburg have long been an inextricable part of Rhode’s work, particularly a site he refers to as the “broken wall,” which has served as the backdrop of his work for over seven years. Works like Frustum (2017) mark the culmination of the series, a final return to the location. The title references a mid-17th century Latin mathematical term that translates to “piece cut off.” In this nine-panel photographic work, by bringing together geometric shapes and a school uniform clad doppelganger, Rhode infuses the word with greater emotional resonance, embodying an emotional urgency, a desire to be completed, or fulfilled.
Most recently, Rhode traveled to shoot in Jericho, a city located within the Judaean Desert. His work Phantom Rain (2019), shot in a 200 year old Ottoman Empire ruin, calls to the history of the region and the theological symbolism and importance of rain, which has spiritual connotations found within both Judaism and Islam. Today, the region is marked by a constant fight for water―with thousands of Palestinians’ only access to clean water through Isreal―and remains a stark reminder of the continuous conflict between Isreal and Palestine. In his title, Rhode reference’s Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness published in 1968, “Sometimes it rains and still fails to moisten the desert – the falling water evaporates halfway down between cloud and earth...Torture by tantalizing, hope without fulfillment.”
About the artist
Robin Rhode (b. 1976, Cape Town, South Africa; lives and works in Berlin) studied at the University of Johannesburg as well as at the Association of Film and Dramatic Arts (AFDA), from 1996 to 2001. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized by Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2019); Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2018-2019); Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2017); Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art, GA (2016); The Drawing Center, New York (2015); Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY (2014); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2013); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2010); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2009); Hayward Gallery, London (2008); and Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2007). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Synthesize: Art + Music, Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, FL (2017); Shifting Views: People and Politics in Contemporary African Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, MD (2016-2017); Making Africa. A Continent of Contemporary Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany, traveled to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2015); DRAWING NOW. Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2015), GOLD, Bass Museum of Art, Miami (2014); Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); and New Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005). Rhode has participated in multiple biennials/triennials, including the Busan Biennale (2017), the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); PERFORMA 15, Arnold Schönberg’s Erwartung - A Performance by Robin Rhode, New York (2015), the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012); Yokohama Triennial, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan (2005) and the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Detroit Institute of Art, MI; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), CA; 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; The Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Rhode has received numerous awards, including the 2018 Zurich Art Prize, Zurich, Switzerland; the Young Artist Award 2011, A.T. Kearney, Germany; the 2007 Illy Prize, Art Brussels, Belgium, and ars viva 05/06 Identität/Identity Award, Berlin.