- Robert Rauschenberg
- signed and dated 97; titled and numbered 97.076 on the reverse
- vegetable dye transfer on polylaminate
- 96 by 59 3/4 in. 243.8 by 151.8 cm.
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1998
Appointment from 1997 may be seen as a formal exercise in the elaborate arrangement of shape, color and texture. It may also be seen to contain a mysterious, idiosyncratic code; as if Rauschenberg has provided us with a riddle, and our task is to unravel its various meanings. Through his deliberate lack of order, achieving any sense of the whole seems a difficult, even futile exercise. Gaining a purchase of the 'whole' must be a personal aesthetic pursuit, rewarded through the act of looking. However, whether consciously or unconsciously, artists make choices, in terms of the associations inherent to their subject matter and in terms of their assemblages of that loaded material and images. In a sense, the random, non-hierarchical quality of Appointment is analogous to the image-saturated culture we now inhabit.
The present work dazzles in both the complexity and multiplicty of our experience of it. The viewer is presented with the various patterns, images and iconography that all come together to release a stream of meanings. One has to spend considerable time with a monumental work such as Appointment to garner any sense of this. Whilst as a two-dimensional object, given its size and presentation, it has an immediate impact. It is only when living with the work that the subleties and textures of color and composition of its meanings and everyday juxtapositions come into to full bloom. The emphasis on differing forms creates further antagonism within the whole. Bright versus dark, figural versus non-representational, passive versus active, quiet versus loud, all these polarities come together to enrich our experience of the work itself and sharpen the viewer's very act of looking.