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Contemporary Art Day Auction

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Robert Rauschenberg
1925 - 2008年
PHOTEM SERIES 1 #29
signed, titled and dated 81 on the reverse
gelatin silver print collage on board, mounted on shaped aluminium
125 by 59 cm. 49 1/4 by 23 1/4 in.
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來源

Galería Weber, Alexander y Cobo, Madrid
Private Collection
Christie's, New York, 1 April 2008, Lot 223
Acquired from the above by the present owner

展覽

Madrid, Galería Weber, Alexander y Cobo, Robert Rauschenberg, Photems/ Fotografías, February - April 1993, p. 40, illustrated

相關資料

“Rauschenberg's position in the world of painting has so overshadowed his role as a photographic innovator that he is usually overlooked in discussions of the history of photography. Yet his achievement as a painter is essentially photographic in method.  His painting recapitulates the sensibility of the major photographers of the fifties, parallels photography's preoccupations of the sixties, and anticipates the 'mixed-media' and conceptual work of the 1970s” (Jonathan Green, American Photography: A Critical History, 1945 to the Present, 1984, p. 131).

Totemic in form and mounted upon aluminium, Robert Rauschenberg’s Photems abolish the line between photography and sculpture. Rauschenberg has never been one to shy away from unorthodox combinations; his renowned Combines fused painting and sculpture together in ways that shocked audiences and reinvented the medium. Photem Series 1 #29 is a key example of the artist’s photographic investigation, uniting his experimentation of mediums with his interest in American life and culture.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Rauschenberg went on to become one of the pillars of contemporary American painting. It was at Black Mountain College, under the watchful eye of Josef Albers, where Rauschenberg was first taught of the wonders of photography. In fact, Rauschenberg went on to spend his career toying between being a painter and a photographer. Rauschenberg developed an obsession with an impossible project: to photograph his country inch by inch.

In Photem Series 1 #29, three images of American life are merged together, each of which touch on the key concerns for Rauschenberg; light, surface and texture. A shovel, drenched in the morning light, grounds the work at its base. Its handle guides the eye upwards as it merges with the wooden fences of the middle image. Atop the work, a wooden bench stands tall like an altar. Joined without margins or separation, the three images offer a snapshot into American life, untouched by Rauschenberg’s hand, observed only by his eye.

The name of the series – Photems – implies a combination of ‘photos’ and ‘totems’. Vertical and often monumental in size, the Photems take on the form of historical totems: a symbol of a community, a repository of life. Rauschenberg’s clan, the urban clan, keeps its memory in the form of photographs, fragments of American existence. Photographs are an imprint of reality and Rauschenberg, by placing his photographs on a metallic surface, imbues the images with its own reflectivity. Thus, the present work not only addresses Rauschenberg’s key concerns as an artist but contemplates the medium of photography as a whole. The Photems become symbols of urban life, totems of the modern experience.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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倫敦