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Robin Rhode wins Zurich Art Prize 2018

The jury praised Rhode’s vocabulary of constructivism and ability to see the medium of drawing as something that’s not limited to the pictorial plane.

Robin Rhode, Frustum series, 2017. © Robin Rhode, images courtesy of the artist

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Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd announced South African artist Robin Rhode as the eleventh winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize in 2018.

The Berlin based artist Robin Rhode grew up in South Africa. For him, the medium of drawing is not limited to an image carrier, but is instead a technique that he uses to trigger a performance-based process – in the public space, as well as on the walls of museums and galleries. Be it choreographed or improvised, Rhode understands drawing to be something interwoven with space and context, which is ultimately recorded in the form of photo sequences, videos or objects. Starting with wall drawings (of a bicycle, for instance, which children in a South African township would wish for in vain), Robin Rhode developed an artistic practice that cleverly and humorously makes it possible to experience everyday observations, political statements, desires and (in his latest work) references to art history – via gestures that sometimes resemble slapstick.

His latest works contain references to modernism, play with the vocabulary of constructivism and incorporate notions from color theory. The Zurich Art Prize jury expressed enthusiasm about Rhode’s handling of constructivist borrowings, which he can implement with relish in response to space and context. His practice of integrating the audience was also highlighted as outstanding.

The prize sum of CHF 100,000 consists of a CHF 80,000 budget for the production of a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv from 25 October 2018 to 13 January 2019 and CHF 20,000 in prize money.

Robin Rhode can already look back on numerous solo exhibitions: E.g. at the following institutions: Tel Aviv Museum of Art, ISR (2017); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, USA (2016); The Drawing Center, New York, USA (2015); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, AUS (2013); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA (2010); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, USA (2009); Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2008) and Haus der Kunst, Munich, GER (2007).
His most important group exhibitions include: Busan Biennale, KOR (2017); 56th Venice Biennale, IT (2015); PERFORMA 15, New York (2015); Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, GER and Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, ESP (2015); Drawing Now, Albertina, Vienna, AUT (2015); Gold, Museum of Art, Miami, USA (2014); 18th Biennale of Sydney, AUS (2012); Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960, MoMA, New York, USA (2011); Yokohama Triennale, JPN (2005) and 51st Venice Biennale (2005).