Please note that our galleries will be closed for installation until Friday, June 21.

Robin Rhode: Drawing Waves

In Drawing Waves, South African–born, German-based artist Robin Rhode exhibits 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 partners with a group of children aged 8-10 years to create this large-scale mural of the high seas, a process which has been video recorded and is on view. He 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.

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