For Robert Rauschenberg, ”the artist’s job is to be a witness to his time in history.” But instead of obeying to the dominating influences of his time, such as the Abstract Expressionism movement, he created a history of his own. Six of his significant works from different series, testifying to his determination to blur the line between art and life and an impeccable conversance of various creative techniques, will soon be on display at Hong Kong’s de Sarthe Gallery, spanning from 1968 to 2005. Rebellious, daring and groundbreaking, Robert Rauschenberg’s approach defined the visions behind Neo-Dadaism and influenced many movements and artists to come.
The oldest artwork in the exhibition will certainly be the 1968 Bryce Baby, an example of a technique called “solvent transfer” which results in transfer drawings. Using found photographs, comic strips and reproductions of artworks, they render the collage elements onto a two-dimensional plane, announcing the artist’s future interest in appropriation. The featured images seem to be rising from the surface they lay on, in a splendid show for the eyes. From Robert Rauschenberg’s Anagrams series from the mid-1990s, there will be Stretch [Anagrams (A Pun)], demonstrating another creative method. By combining dye transfer with self-produced plaster sheets and polylaminate panels, it goes beyond ways of traditional painting, in order to show the medium’s newly formed relationship with modern technology.
On the verge of the new millennium, Robert Rauschenberg developed yet another process, through which mixed media works were executed using pigment transfer or vegetable dye transfer onto a polylaminate material, a surface made of layers of laminated paper that are mounted on aluminium. One of such works is Page 10 Paragraph 3 from 2001, a photograph-collage without a particular order open to any kind of interpretation. Finally, from the Scenarios series created between 2002 and 2006, we have Roundabout, Tenant and Rehab, all from 2005 and large-scale. Each of these paintings offers a fairly literal presentation of the urban, suburban and rural American sites, thus creating an unusual, collage-like visual document of the landscape for time to come - an anagram that needs to be dismantled and reassembled in our minds, as it provides an original commentary on globalisation and modernisation of both art and the world around us.
The exhibition of works by Robert Rauschenberg will be on view at de Sarthe Gallery in Hong Kong, from May 26 through July 2, 2016. The press preview is scheduled for May 26 at 5pm. The prices of the artworks on view range from $290,000 to $720,000. The remarkable legacy of one of the most important American artists lives on, also through a major retrospective taking place at the Tate London this year, as well as a showcase of a monumental work at UCCA Beijing.
Editors’ Tip: Robert Rauschenberg: Anagrams (A Pun)
Robert Rauschenberg has certainly redefined what materials were suitable for art, boldly rebelling against the predominant abstract expressionism of the time. Throughout his illustrious career, he has consistently challenged the prevailing ideologies and techniques of the art world. This insightful analysis into Rauschenberg's work and life examines his bravery in pushing beyond technical and aesthetic frontiers as well as his influential dissemination of photography, film, and television, which altered the genre of traditional painting. The seminal works--from his "combines" (urban trash on painted surfaces) to his silk screens--are reproduced here in full color. The author also discusses some of the artist's more recent projects, including ROCI, Rauschenberg's own exhibition organization that showcases diverse artists from all over the world.
Featured images in slider: Robert Rauschenberg - Tenant (Scenarios), 2005. Pigment transfer on polylaminate, two panels. Signed and dated lower right 'RAUSCHENBERG 2K+5'; artist's registration number inscribed on reverse of each panel '205.014’. Overall dimensions: 85 1/2 x 120 1/2 in, 217.2 x 306.1 cm. Copyright: Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; Robert Rauschenberg - Rehab (Scenarios), 2005. Pigment transfer on polylaminate, two panels. Signed and dated lower right ”RAUSCHENBERG 2K+5”; artist's registration number inscribed on reverse of each panel ”205.010”. Overall dimensions: 85 1/2 x 120 1/2 in, 217.2 x 306.1 cm. Copyright: Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. All images courtesy of de Sarthe Gallery.