signed and dated 2K
vegetable dye transfer and acrylic on polylaminate
Executed in 2000.
Galerie Jamileh Weber, Zürich
Acquired by the present info from the above
Richard Segal, Monica Segal, DeDe Young and Jared Pruzan, Contemporary Realism: The Seavest Collection, Portland, 2007, p. 103, illustrated in color
Over half-a-century ago now, Robert Rauschenberg developed his "transfer" technique, using turpentine to soak images onto paper to create a collage. This process enabled him to experiment with juxtaposing images and skillfully combine what would become some of his most famous iconic symbols: the crowd scene, the skylight window, the shooting rockets. These early "transfers" demonstrate Rauschenberg's keen sense of aesthetic balance and his ability to use imagery to reach the subconscious and translate a story or idea onto a visual picture. He masterfully exploited the dimensionalities of collage and its implicit message-laden imagery. Sam Hunter once explained that "it was that sensitive balance between opposites, a sort of intuitive tension or innate yin/yang that would persist in his character, and emerge in fascinating forms and ever-shifting guises in his art" (Sam Hunter, Robert Rauschenberg: Works, Writings, Interviews, Barcelona, 2006, p. 25). Both in his Silkscreen Paintings, in which this method of transfer was employed and in his Combine Paintings, muscular collages of mundane, often three-dimensional found objects, images appear and reappear, grouped around general themes of Americana, space flight and other modes of transportation, architecture, cultural icons, Old Master paintings, and more generic images such as glasses of water.
Though executed five decades after Rauschenberg originally devised his method of collaging, the present work, Page 42, Paragraph 1 (Short Stories) from 2000, employs his characteristic superimposition. Here, rainbow and palm tree-printed beach umbrellas fan out against swaths of nautical stripes; photographs of rubbery lily pads provide a wallpaper-like effect in the upper-right corner. Whitewashed, industrial interiors peek through behind Asian kiosks. The permutations and interpretations are limitless. As William Rubin noted in 1960, "Everything the eye delights in is eligible to enter into the autobiographical poem. The iconography in Rauschenberg pictures seems to reach back through time and consciousness, memory by memory...they never relinquish their autobiographical intimacy" (William Rubin, "Young American Painters", Art International 4, no. 1, January 1960, p. 26). Rauschenberg's most indelible feat was the way in which his use of oneiric imagery allowed him to cannily access our collective memory.
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