ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG | FROM THE BLEACHER SERIES: NORTH CAROLINA, 1979
FROM THE BLEACHER SERIES: NORTH CAROLINA, 1979
unique bleached Polaroid Polapan print, mounted to aluminum, signed and dated in silver ink on the mount, framed to the artist's specifications, a Selections 6 exhibition label on the reverse, subject matter from 1979, printed in 1991
21½ by 26 in. (53.9 by 66 cm.)
This print is in generally excellent condition. There are scattered fine scratches overall, which likely occurred during processing.
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Collection of the Polaroid Corporation
Sotheby's New York, Photographs from the Polaroid Collection, 22 June 2010, Sale 8649, Lot 195
Cologne, Photokina, Selections 6: Works from the Polaroid Collection, September 1992, and traveling to 16 other venues through 1999
The present work illustrates Rauschenberg’s inventive approach to photography, specifically Polaroids, and his desire to expand the typical boundaries of the camera. In 1988, Rauschenberg was invited to work with Polaroid's massive 20-by-24-inch camera, which was brought to his studio in Florida; The Bleacher series had its genesis in his first encounter with this special camera. The large sheets of Polapan film Rauschenberg used during these sessions required, like Polaroid's smaller consumer-market black-and-white film, a coating after development that arrested the action of the developing agent and created a hard protective surface for the print. Curious about what would happen if this coating were not applied or only selectively applied, Rauschenberg asked Polaroid technician John Reuter what the results would be. Reuter advised that the uncoated areas would become effectively bleached. Rauschenberg subsequently experimented with selectively coating his prints and leaving them in the sun to hasten the results of his treatment. Frustrated that this did not yield an immediate or sufficient change in the appearance of his photographs, Rauschenberg devised a wholly new strategy: using a paintbrush, he selectively applied bleach to the surface of the prints. This inventive method had the effect of altering the appearance of certain areas, creating a multi-layered image that operates as both a literal depiction of its subject and an abstract riff upon it.