Robin Rhode’s reflections on the pandemic and future, featured in “Le Figaro”

May 4, 2020
The French newspaper, Le Figaro, talked to Laurence Dreyfus, who mentioned her recent conversation with the Berlin-based artist:
Wanting to know what the future will be like is worrying. Socrates’ maxim – “I know I know nothing” – attests to the humility and modesty that we must adopt in the face of this invisible threat. The role of art is to try to glimpse this future without pretending to define it. This ties in perfectly with the words of Jean-Luc Godard that reminded me of a collecting friend: “What does art want? All. What can art do? Nothing. What does art do? Something.”
“I call my dear Robin Rhode in Facetime, a South African artist also confined to his huge Berlin studio (800 m2 of working space, with storage spaces and other basements of a total of 1,200 m2 ), located in Reinickendorf, north-west of the city. “Fortunately, I downscaled my studio well before the crisis, so I have no major setbacks in terms of my work demands,” he says. I am comfortable to continue my production on a very small scale, but always on a large scale in ideas and dreams. I am alone in imagining the possibilities of my works. A pandemic cannot capture our dreams and fantasies. ” Unlike a classic war, apartheid that he knew, does this biological war inspire him? “It could inspire me to a new visual iconography, but in an unconscious way. We tend to make sense of experiences in the future rather than in the present. So, maybe over time, I will be able to articulate this biological war in a visual vocabulary. For now, it’s too immediate, too close, and too early for me to clearly understand the impact. We are only in the immediate phase of understanding. ”

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