Robin Rhode Weaves Performance, Street Art, and Memory

Coming of age in the aftermath of South African Apartheid, the Cape Town-born, Johannesburg-bred Robin Rhode quickly embraced performative wall drawing in chalk and charcoal as a way to reclaim public space. With a nod to the rites-of-passage in his high school—where older students made chalk drawings on bathroom walls and forced underclassmen to interact with them—Rhode makes his marks on sidewalks, streets, and galleries alike, with rhythmic drawings akin to motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge. In Bones, Rhode depicts a set of dominoes in collapse across 30 frames (the piece is named for the ivory/bone origins of the playing pieces). “It’s about my experiences as a youth, playing dominoes with my father and uncles,” he says. “It’s very [much] part of my Cape Town upbringing. The source of inspiration is something which is not even a consciousness. It’s intuitive.”

Portrait courtesy of Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

On view at Lehmann Maupin, Art Basel 2013 - Galleries, Booth J9, June 13th – 16th. Explore Art Basel.