From Bob: A letter by Robert Rauschenberg
The bond established between the writer and the addressee when receiving a letter is both of friendship and juxtaposition. It responds to a narrative of exchange, where there is room for affinities and dissimilarities to arise. This exhibition has been structured with the intention to create these moments, where a dialogue between Rauschenberg and the viewer occurs.
The viewer will be conducted through a three room installation which unpicks the contents of this eponymous letter. The works have been selected for their harmony within the narrative – Collection (1954) is presenting this exhibition upon entering the first room, a work that represents the opening the letter showing the personality of the work, and giving a sense of what this exhibition is about – a collection, an archive – creating proximity with the viewer. Before entering the next room, there will be two works, the unconventional portrait Postcard Self-Portrait, Black Mountain (II) (1952), and Self-Portait [for The New Yorker profile] (1964), showing Rauschenberg's sarcastic humour; but both equally displaying a more personal side of him, prefacing what type of work it can expect in the next rooms.
In the second room we will be introduced to the content of the letter. The viewer has the opportunity to read it and Rauschenberg is telling them about his curiosities, what excites him, and we can see all of this in this room.
In the centre of the room we have his coca-cola bottle crate Untitled (1952), giving a sense of collection - hording all of these materials and objects which were significant to him. This room intends to show us an assemblage of works by Rauschenberg which seem more personal; works such as Untitled [Scatole Personali] (1953), which depicts a ‘box’ with his “personali” belongings he has collected, or Untitled, circa (1955), in which he uses some of his other his collected materials, a sock and a parachute. The rest of the works would be: This Is the First Half of a Print Designed to Exist in Passing Time (1948) and the painting Untitled (1973) and Mother of God, circa (1950), which are an assortment of some his more delicate works, with which you can read more into Rauschenberg’s interests.
And finally, the third room – where there is room for dialogue and responses. This third room won't be just about Rauschenberg, but also his relationships. The artistic exchange he had with some artists than later became his close friends. From Johns' iconic work, to Cage's silence and Cunningham's movements, all encrypted in Rauschenberg’s work.
The works in this last room would be a mixture of photography and his Trophies, tangibly talking to eachother.
Works would be: Merce (1953), Untitled [John Cage, Black Mountain] (1952), Jasper- Studio N.Y.C. (1958) and conversing with these three photos we would have, Trophy I (for Merce Cunningham) (1959), Trophy IV (for John Cage) (1961) and Trophy V (for Jasper Johns) (1962), ending with this discourse between Rauschenberg and the viewer and putting a full stop to this exhibition.