26 May 2014

Robin Rhode: Animating The Everyday at Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College, May 4 - Aug 10

South African artist Robin Rhode's exhibition, Animating the Everyday, a ten-year survey of his digital videos, is on at the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College from May 4 through August 10. The 22 works in the exhibition focuses on the digital videos that Rhode identifies as "animations" and photographic series that correspond to or complement the time-based work.
Above: Robin Rhode, Kinderstoel, 2011. Digital animation, 2:20 minutes. Courtesy of the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and White Cube

Rhode's exuberant animations—created in the streets, studios, his parents' yard in Johannesburg, and Berlin, where he now lives and works—transform the quotidian into the playful and fantastic but include an underpinning of melancholy, danger, and risk. "I embrace chaos. I don't create a work only with the idea that it has to be lighthearted; there's something dark underneath," Rhode explained at a recent visit to the Neuberger Museum of Art. "I come from a culture that is very spontaneous, that has a lot of humor and sarcasm. It stems from the South African mentality and has to do with freedom, and with the possibility of imagining or reinventing another world quite rapidly...Approachability and accessibility are fundamental to my work."

Above: Robin Rhode; Arm Chair (still), 2011; digital animation, 1:20; courtesy of the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and White Cube

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition. It contains essays by co-curators Helaine Posner, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, and Louise Yelin, Professor of Literature, Purchase College; Tom Gunning, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College at the University of Chicago; and Leora Maltz-Leca, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture at the Rhode Island School of Design accompanies the exhibition. 

Bicycles, chairs, and the human look large in Rhode's animations. Sometimes the figures appear to defy gravity or at least struggle with it as it represents "the ultimate limit to be spurned," writes Gunning. "Rhodes images simultaneously...celebrate [the] possibilities but also...encounter the resistance of the material circumstances of the real world."

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