In Drawing Waves, South African–born, German-based artist Robin Rhode will exhibit his signature, stop-action photographs (in which he draws in public streets and then a performer interacts with the inscribed image) in a new photographic sequence entitled, Breaking Waves, 2014-15, which whimsically depicts a young boy surfing in the sea. The illusionistic swell of the waves–articulated by Rhode’s drawn gestures onto a dilapidated city wall–reiterates the boy’s deft maneuvering of the ocean and this type of athletic physicality is echoed in the accompanying wall drawing Paries Pictus-Draw The Waves, 2015. Rhode continues his collaboration with youths, partnering with a small group of children aged 8-10 years to create a large-scale mural of the high seas. Rhode begins the process by attaching vinyl cutouts of seventeenth century mercantile ships to the gallery wall, and then invites the children to freely draw the surrounding body of water using giant, custom-made oil crayons. The nautical motif is largely inspired by the East India Company fleet, who were the first colonialists in Southern Africa—a nod to Rhode’s own childhood and the indignities he faced growing up in a post-apartheid South Africa. Yet as a participatory artwork, Rhode offers a more hopeful message by bringing urban youth culture to the fore and demonstrating the power of pure imagination.
Curated by Joanna Kleinberg Romanow, Adjunct Assistant Curator.
Robin Rhode: Drawing Waves is made possible by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Special thanks to Allison and Larry Berg.