To call Robin Rhode a “street artist” is to have missed the point. It might be more appropriate to call him a “magician,” as his work creates illusion and spectacle out of the simplest of artists’ tricks. Rhode’s most interesting and accessible work is largely made up of still photographs taken of him in various stages of movement, with the additional help of basic wall drawings and sculptures to create a scene. With the simple flourish of black paint or chalk, Rhode creates optical illusions of simple, daily gestures that under ordinary circumstances, would be wholly unremarkable. He highlights this mundane modernity, inviting the viewer to look upon getting on a bike, throwing a yo-yo and even waving a flag with childlike openness to experiencing something witnessed a thousand times before from a new perspective. Often basic, but no less whimsical or clever, Rhode indulges his flair for the dramatic, but in a stripped-down way that leaves plenty of room for a laugh or a double-take upon seeing his work.
Text by Pepper