Car Wash performance at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, on Sept 17, 2014; courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York/Hong Kong; photo from

Few artists toy with notions of time and space quite like Cape Town-born, Berlin-based Robin Rhode. He doesn’t just create narratives out of simple 2D works — using things like chalk, charcoal and soap — but engages and interacts with them, bringing them to life, Pygmalion-style. He documents the process with photographs; each series of “performative drawings,” as he calls them, then becomes a captivating (and captivatingly cool) riff off stop-motion animation and Muybridge’s classic motion studies. With public spaces and streets as his preferred canvas, Rhode has, for instance, gone fishing… on an ocean-blue city wall. In his newest exhibit Having Been There, at Lehmann Maupin in Hong Kong, the mind-bending illusions continue — hand-drawn bubbly pours down a hand-drawn champagne tower, illustrated koi fish swim around and, above, the gallery space turns into a car wash with show goers becoming Rhode’s participating cleaning crew.

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