Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Geometry of Colour at Lehmann Maupin Gallery

The Geometry of Colour is a body of works created by artist Robin Rhode. These works are cooperative visual and performance art, documented through c-print photographs, taken at a wall in Johannesburg.

In one work, Under the Sun, Rhode produced images of the pixelated sun’s rays for both the political and atmospheric climates that the regions share across 36 photographs. His sun rays join the long representational history of the sun, both as a benevolent father figure and as a symbol of victory and might, throughout monotheistic religions. The rays also revisit the theme of light as a sociopolitical issue—the expansion of the electrical grid to serve black townships was an early achievement of the African National Congress under Nelson Mandela.

I appreciate the form of Under the Sun and Rhode’s ideas on the metaphor of the sun rays. However, many of his thoughts come to me from the statement, not the work itself. In the exhibition, some of his works show the beauty of geometries and documents of his excellent performance. However, it is hard for audiences to associate geometries with sociopolitical issues. Because geometries in artworks are more like unemotional expressions, it is too abstract to related spectrum to the metaphor of sun rays in history. To think personally, the document of his performance is a second pass which will lose a strong and dynamic expression. The original work should be more impactful on the concept.

1 comment:

  1. When I was watching this show, I was thinking about the relationship between the artist’s own behavior and the abstract shapes on the wall. In some of his works I can see that the artist's actions are trying to form a right angle or a parallel relationship with a certain line of the figure. However, in other works, for example, the one in your article, his actions seem to be as a form of color. This form of work can easily become a meaningless abstract decorative wall painting, but I still think that he might be discussing the relationship between people and things, three-dimensional and abstract, and various interactions between dimensions.