PRESS / 2018

Robin Rhode awarded Zurich Art Prize 2018


The Zurich Art Prize 2018 goes to Robin Rhode

Solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv25 October 2018 to 13 January 2019


Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd are very pleased to announce the eleventh winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize: in 2018, this art prize goes to South African artist Robin Rhode. 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 and CHF 20,000 in prize money.


Artist Robin Rhode (b. 1976 in Cape Town, lives in Berlin) 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. For example, Chalk Bike (2015) is based on an experience that the artist had as a school pupil: older pupils would urge the younger ones to ride a drawing of a bicycle on the wall as if it were real. The installation Chalk Bike at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York comprises an accurate replica of a bicycle in white chalk and, on a black wall, several chalk drawings of bicycles, which, together with the object, suggest motion.


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.


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