by Tracey Samuelson in New Art on Wednesday 23 April 2008

There’s a lot I could say about South African artist Robin Rhode.  But to simply say that he’s endlessly cool pretty much sums it up. In fact, he’s so cool that Nike’s been accused of ripping off one of his pieces for a television ad (can you say plagiarism: just don’t do it?) His photographs and performance art feel a bit like the intersection of comics and graffiti, often suggesting motion through a series of street-based stills or by borrowing from the graphic language of comic books (think a looping arc to suggest a bouncing ball’s trajectory). And yet, Rhode’s deceptively simple representations, low-brow materials, and neutral urban settings camouflage careful staging and precise execution. So while it’s largely Rhode’s sense of humor that makes his work so appealing, that humor belies a technical sophistication and composition that’s incredibly beautiful. Smart, funny, and good looking? I think I have a crush.
Robin Rhode
Robin Rhode