Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction

Sold for

ZAR 34 140
Lot 42
  • Avant Car Guard; Robin Rhode. Not Alone

Lot Estimate
ZAR 20 000 - 30 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 34 140

About this Item

South African 21st Century
Robin Rhode. Not Alone
signed with the artists' logo
acrylic on canvas
200 by 150cm excluding frame


‘The fascination with tacky kitsch continues in Avant Car Guard’s ‘blinged’ out portrait of South African artist Robin Rhode. Rhode, currently residing in Berlin, is a South African artist who frequently explores spatial dynamics through schoolyard play. Rhode has recently come to international prominence through BMW’s Expression of Joy Campaign, where he used a BMW sports car to paint on a 200 x 300-foot canvas. Avant Car Guard renders their image of Rhode in Robin Rhode, Not Alone (2009), dressing their subject with a multitude of bling-bling. Rhode is in a white tank top with black top hat and white headdress beneath it, his hands are cocked mimicking gang signs; he also wears several rings, watches and four gold chains around his neck. One of the pendants on the chain is the BMW logo referring to Rhode’s commercials and a second is a ‘lucky rabbit’ of sorts. This rabbit’s head bears a resemblance to William Kentridge and it is clutching a bottle of wine. The drunken, slumped-over hybrid makes reference to a wine label Kentridge designed for a Cape Town vineyard to help fund extra performances of his staging of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, for underprivileged children in South Africa. However, Avant Car Guard understands Kentridge’s actions as part of an ever-expanding constellation of commercialism in South African art, pairing it with Rhode’s BMW ads. The pairing not only suggests Avant Car Guard’s critique of their perceived commercialism, but points to the rising status both artists have received internationally.’1

  1. Andrew Hennlich. (2009) African Ice: Avant Car Guard’s Bling-bling. [Online] Available: [7 December 2018].

Accompanied by a copy of the Avant Car Guard catalogue, Volume III, signed with the initials ACG, dated '09 and numbered 21/50.


WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, Volume III, Solo Exhibition, March 2009. Illustrated in colour in the catalogue, unpaginated.

Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, 'Scuse us while we kiss da sky (as in, we've hit the ceiling), 4 June to 4 July 2009.

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