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"On the Rhode": The Tel Aviv Museum of Art devotes a wing to Robin Rhode's "Under the Sun"

Under the Sun, 2017, by Robin Rhode
Courtesy of Robin Rhode & Braverman Gallery Tel Aviv Under the Sun, 2017, by Robin Rhode

As an artist and as an observer, one can look at a piece of art and see the efforts that went into each carefully crafted line, each calculated brush stroke, each concave and convex groove that defines a slab of clay. These processes come together in harmony to form what we foolishly presume to be a 'finished' product.


Robin Rhodes, on the other hand, rejects this notion, inviting the public to carry on his artwork into a second phase: an interactive phase in which the artwork is stripped from the hands of the creator and placed in the care of the public.


The South African artist, who now works and resides in Berlin, first brought his post-Apartheid period works to life in the form of local street murals, which he painted with his friends on the walls of their school. As older students forced newcomers to treat these paintings as if they were real life (i.e. pretending to ride a painted bike), a childhood ritual was born out of combining drawing and physical movement to create a performance.


Under the Sun, 2017, by Robin Rhode

Courtesy of Robin Rhode & Braverman Gallery Tel Aviv


Curated by Galit Landau-Epstein, "Under the Sun" showcases this ritualistic combination that Rhode has carried with him into his adult life. In order to capture the ephemeral performances–in which the artist, an actor, or sometimes both, respond to the represented image–Rhode presents his series as photographs or videos. The 'finished' product thus becomes the "documentation of an event unfolding outside the art world; it is a vestige of an energetically charged, physical occurrence that persists long after the traces of movement, tension, and sweat dissolve and disappear."


Paradoxically, this unique process replaces the power of Rhode's works with the fundamental loss of power when compared to what once existed on the streets, under the sun. With the support of the Braverman Gallery, by placing this interactive exhibition rooted in urban youth culture, identity, and history inside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art's Herta and Paul Amir Building, yet another narrative is attached to the pieces, as any grounds for a finite product are once again displaced by an ongoing conversation.


From September 28-February 3, become part of this conversation at The Agnes and Beny Steinmetz Wing for Architecture and Design inside the Herta and Paul Amir Building of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.