Paries Pictus is Robin Rhode’s first solo exhibition in South Africa in over a decade.
The artist (born in 1976 in Cape Town and raised in Johannesburg) will use the walls of the gallery for a site-specific intervention of drawings. The artist has partnered with the Lalela Project, a Cape Town-based organisation that specialises in arts education for children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. A group of learners from Lalela will be invited to use oversized crayons to colour in geometric vinyl graphics applied directly to the walls by Rhode. This interactive component of Paries Pictus was first enacted at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy, in 2011, and subsequently in New York at Lehmann Maupin gallery this January.
In addition Rhode will show a range of photographic, drawing, moving image and sculptural works, ranging from abstract drawings made in Germany in 2007 to new photo series done in Johannesburg in 2013. Two threads to be explored in depth are Rhode’s interest in abstraction, and imagery connected directly to South Africa.
Rhode creates narratives that are brought to life through stop-motion animation, using quotidian materials such as soap, charcoal, chalk and paint. In addition to the street art and performance aspects of his work, there is always a formalist foundation inspired by his interest in abstraction in general and Russian constructivism in particular.
In 2000 he was granted a Fresh residency at the South African National Gallery, and gave a performance at the Market Galleries during a solo show in Johannesburg. Since then, based in Berlin, Rhode has become the most high-profile South African artist of his generation. He was part of the seminal Walker Art Center exhibition When Latitudes Become Forms in 2004, and in 2005 he was the youngest artist in the Venice Biennale. His global career has included solo exhibitions at Haus der Kunst in Munich; the Hayward Gallery, London; and LACMA, Los Angeles.