In Robin Rhode’s short black & white film, Kid candle, a young boy, dressed for the street, leans in to light a candle.
The ‘candle’ is a simple line drawing sketched on the wall, or perhaps on a paper backdrop that stands in for a wall. Either way, the flame catches and we see a flicker of fire as a black smudge begins to grow. The boy blows on it and the black smudge gets bigger. Briefly you expect the flame to overtake the image and destroy it but it doesn’t. Instead the film loops; boy leans in, lights candle, blows, flame flickers, grows etc.
Around the corner is another work, Rocks. A man wearing ice skates and dressed in a suit skates in staggered freeze-frame over a broken concrete expanse, the entire sequence formed by still frames animated together.
It’s the kind of dilapidated public square that marks a certain kind of city teetering on the edge. Our viewpoint is back a bit and slightly above. Space is flattened—we see the surface of the square but only sense the city.
He’s a black man and although his movements are jerkily rendered, they appear carefully choreographed. Behind him ice cubes gather behind each push of his skates and mark out a scattered path. He holds a half bottle of whisky and an empty glass. Ideas and world play merge in and out of focus—rocks/on the rocks/diamonds/wealth/poverty etc. Whether or not these stick in any meaningful way seems beside the point.
The man makes one loop, crosses over, completes another and ends where he started. His trail of ‘rocks’, now melting in the sun, mark out a Möbius loop.
Robin Rhode, The call of walls, NGV International, Melbourne, 17 May – 15 September 2013.