STEVENSON, Johannesburg, South Africa
26 Mar 2015 - 01 May 2015


Robin Rhode, 2015 Digital video, sound Duration 16 min , courtesy: STEVENSON

STEVENSON presents Robin Rhode’s Recycled Matter, his first solo exhibition at the gallery’s Johannesburg space.

The exhibition takes its title from Rhode’s new experimental film, shot in his Berlin studio in collaboration with French performer Jean-Baptiste André, who first worked with Rhode at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, France. The film also features Rhode’s long-time musical collaborators Arenor Anuku and drum soloist Marcel van Cleef.

In Recycled Matter André mimes his journey through a range of wall-drawn and theatrical environments, interacting with props and sculptural elements that are remnants of previous artworks taken from Rhode’s studio. Scenes of the street, rooftops and residential facades are suggested by Rhode’s language of simplified and generic forms, functioning as stands-ins or representations of the real thing. Utilitarian objects such as suitcases, coins, ropes, bicycle frames and window frames inhabit these scenes, tempering André’s humorous navigation through time and space by developing a life of their own – staying true to Rhode’s ability to give existence to objects through the structure of animation.

The film’s spatial configuration and sense of timing, delivered through André’s performance and the drum-focused musical score, alongside the objects and elements we encounter, locates the viewer as a part of the film, and within its ideas about cycles and movement, journeys and navigation. Rhode explores this idea further in the second part of the gallery where, through installation, the distinctions between cinematic and worldly reality are questioned as they overlap and blur.

Part of Rhode’s extended practice is his independent publishing project, Rhodeworks, which has released several publications and recordings over the years. The project maintains his continued engagement with South Africa, for example through working with Joburg hip-hop artist Sky Klinic, and publishing the illustrated book The Five Magic Pebbles & Other Stories by South African poet and author Don Mattera. A short-run vinyl pressing of the sound track to Recycled Matter, scored and directed by Rhode, will be available at the gallery as an accompanying element to his exhibition, and the opening event will include a live performance by drummer Marcel van Cleef.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 26 March, from 6 to 8pm.


Rhode was born in 1976 in Cape Town, and lives in Berlin. He completed postgraduate studies at the South African School of Film, Television and Dramatic Arts, Johannesburg, in 2000. Major museum solo exhibitions include: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2010); the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2009); the Hayward Gallery, London (2008); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2007). Group exhibitions include Futbol: The Beautiful Game, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2014); More Light, Moscow Biennale (2013); the 18th Sydney Biennale; Fruits of Passion, Centre Pompidou, All Our Relations (2012); Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); The Dissolve, 8th Site Santa Fe Biennale, New Mexico (2010); Prospect.1 New Orleans, 1st New Orleans Biennial (2008); New Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2005); the 51st Venice Biennale (2005).




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