Most famously shot against a ruined wall in Westbury, Johannesburg, Rhode’s images cling nostalgically-yet-hopelessly to the particularity of a place in the very moment that longing is canceled out. Symptoms of exile, screeds for loss, they evoke a sentiment shared by the great Palestinian humanist, Edward Said, for whom ‘A part of something is for the foreseeable future going to be better than all of it. Fragments over wholes. Restless nomadic activity over the settlements of held territory. Criticism over resignation … limited independence over the status of clients. Attention, alertness, focus. To do as others do, but somehow stand apart. To tell a story in pieces, as it is.’ In Geometry of Colour, however, Rhode presents us with an even greater challenge – the mystic search for wholeness in the very midst of its impossibility.
For Rhode the glimmer of an answer resides in geometry – the necessary illusion of perfectibility. Moving between abstract speculation and visceral record, the book tracks productive years in the artist’s life, between 2014 and 2018. More a wager in the present tense than an edifying catalogue, Geometry of Colour is a vital challenge to our current disaffection. It is a testimony, perhaps, that art can still save us.