Artist Robin Rhode’s short animations are a mix of street art, performance, photography and video, in which he articulates drawing and movement, sound and image to transform the quotidian into playful narratives.
His fantastic narratives are triggered by the way live actors engage with their fake props. Starring in the three 2011 short films Arm Chair, Military Chair and Piano Chair is a chair by Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld, a sound component produced by Rhode with arrangements by Arenor Anuku, and the presence of a human figure. The protagonist of Arm Chair is Rietveld’s famous Red and Blue Chair, alongside a phonogram and an elegantly dressed character; in Piano Chair, to the sound of a dramatic staccato, Rietveld’s Piano Stool is an accomplice – or witness – to the murder of a baby grand piano by a frustrated composer. Finally, in Military Chair, a soldier and a general interact with chairs in different ways, either destroying or preserving them; Rietveld’s Military Chair is used as a prop for the performance. Rhode’s usage of Rietveld chairs as pivotal elements in his animations is perhaps an attempt to repurpose Modernism, questioning its hopeless failures, universality and identity.