A 2 day stop-over in London – and yesterday I scheduled my meeting in the Cafe of Tate Modern to have a chance of seeing the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition there. (I am finally getting my priorities right 🙂 ) Just stepping into the massive Tate Modern with a light and sound installation by Philippe Parreno, “Anywhen”, was an overwhelming and incredible feeling.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was truly inventing many new forms of art-making and moving freely between media and methods. The exhibition is organized in rooms each presenting a new approach and new media or form- from traditional painting to sculptures in scrap metal and a bubbling mud bath in a basin.
The first art work that really caught my attention was the Erased De Kooning from 1953. De Kooning was already a recognized abstract expressionist artist, who consented to give Rauschenberg one of his drawings to erase. So both a collaborative and a performance piece- Rauschenberg’s erasing a drawing that was unarguably recognized as a piece of art was creating art. He then framed the erased drawing in a gold frame and labeled it. For me a beautiful reminder of the art as a process.
This is a picture of Rauschenberg beside the erased De Kooning . ( From 2017. Phaidon. [Online]. [14 January 2017]. Available from: http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/art/articles/2013/march/01/how-robert-rauschenberg-erased-a-willem-de-kooning-and-created-a-landmark-of-postmodernism/
A whole room was dedicated to transfer drawings- a technique I am curious to explore, so this was definitely my favorite part of the exhibition. Rauschenberg illustrated 34 cantos of Dante’s Inferno with a series of transfer drawings full of different layers, media and symbols.
He also transfered magazine images and photographs onto cloth hanging loosely like objects.
I am very inspired to try out these different techniques and layers of information and believe this chapter of figure and head is the perfect subject for that.
What I especially soaked up in this exhibition was the joy of experimenting and the fluid moving between media – anything can be used! It was also clear how much Robert Rauschenberg worked in collaboration with others and how one art form supported the other- as in his collaboration with dancers, choreographers and engineers for different art works.