Confrontation and Questions- What Art Has Brought Us by Breaking Boundaries and Challenging Conventions

Wing Lou
Oct 20, 2014 9:11PM

“Art has no borders.

Specialization leads to cultural sterilization. An artist is a diplomat, a prophet, a historian, a poet and a calendar of nourishment of morality and energy.”[1]

Rauschenberg has liberated art from the form of painting, drawing and sculpture by incorporating new elements such as the ready- made piece in the work of art and introducing alternative process of art making. Exploring possibilities of art, Rauschenberg put his interests on “studio practice”, “urban experience”, “space exploration”, “dancing on the edge” and “ROCI in Chile”[2]. This exhibition will mostly focus on his “urban experience”, responding to urban life and its effects with art approach itself as an effect of urbanization and the modern society. This practice was not uncommon in the previous art period, and modern artists just take one step further by adding in new elements that reflect the recent urban influence and comment on phenomena of the modern society.

Selected works all convey his desire to push to the edge and introduce new element, while parallel to Rauschenberg’ belief. The process of making Automobile Tire Print (1953) “eliminate the artist’s hand” and possibly broadened the idea of “artist” by using a car as the main tool[3]; Mona Lisa as seen by Duchamp (1921- 1922) quests whether appropriation of a pre- existing artwork with modification is a process of making art, whether the resulting piece counts art, whether it is still seen as the same and what it will lead to. Monogram (1955- 1959) and Tea Pavilion (2013) both create space for the goat and tree, respectively, or force these objects into a space that one can rarely relate them. These two works possibly throw out the question where these objects are supposed to be, whether the space surrounding them is given a new meaning because of their existence, in which sense, Untitled (2010) also attempts to quest whether a place itself has a meaning or things within define the place. Trust Zone (1969) is about how one sees the high technological development, and Installation View, Foundation Beyeler at Art Basel 2014 also respond to the urban life with two human sculptures arranged in front of the painting Passage du Commerce- Siant- Andre (1952- 1954). Uses of everyday objects in Collection (1954) Marat (2008) possibly record one’s life and also ask the question that what’s the relationship between the modern objects and human, how these objects influence human. Street Archer (1992) and Double Portrait of Anat and Shay After Pierro de la Franscesca (2007) appropriate elements already existed, street signs and the arrangement of two portraits and put them under a new context, seemingly asking if they are as what we’ve perceived.

[1]Robert Rauschenberg, Note on the artist’s role, Rauschenberg’s to- do list and undated handwritten note on the interdisciplinary role of the artist, Manuscript, 1 page

[2] Robert S. Mattison, Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries, (Yale University Press: 2003)

[3] Sarah Roberts, “Automobile Tire Print,” Rauschenberg Research Project, July 2013. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,

Wing Lou