South Africa-born, world-renowned contemporary artist Robin Rhode wears an enormous grin as he points at what is undoubtedly the centerpiece of his solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum, extending his hand in an inviting gesture.

Rhode, who is there to orchestrate the final preparations ahead of the special opening of the first-ever art exhibit by a South African artist at an Israeli museum, insists that gallery goers step out of their comfort zone and into the, somewhat austere, playground he has erected for them at the Architecture and Design Wing.

The unordinary gallery will be home for the next four months to Rhode’s artistic presentation of his fantastical experimentations with color and light, most suitably titled Under the Sun.

It took the artist some four years to transform the long, sinewy metal statue that rolls in on itself in a wave-like pattern from a dream in his mind into the vibrant object that it is. The sculpture operates like a touch sensor, buzzing with ripples of light that travel across it and increase when it is pressed on either of its ends. Looking at Rhode as he enthusiastically demonstrates the effects of the fruit of his labor, one can’t help but recall a popular game that preceded the age of cellular phones; that in which children hooked empty tin cans with chords to emulate how sound travels in regular phone conversations.

The artist laughs at the association, then explains that it is exactly this type of journey he would like to invite people to join him on as he focuses on the interaction of the human body with its surroundings. “I placed a strong emphasis on the human body in my work from the very get-go,” he says. “I think that it’s because of the very gestural society I grew up in. The society in South Africa is very narrative-driven. The way people told stories there was extremely gestural and animated. Read more