7 Sep 2011

Robert Rauschenberg, 'Botanical Vaudaville' Inverleith House, Edinburgh

Robert Rauschenberg 'Eco-Echo IV', 1992-3 (detail)
courtesy Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh/Gagosian Gallery.
Robert Rauschenberg is such an accessible and versatile artist, always surprising you with his juxtapositions of materials and ideas, questioning your thinking and approach to art and life. This show at Inverleith House, Edinburgh, is yet another example of quality curating in Scotland, especially after their Joan Mitchell exhibition. How great it would be to see such a show 'South of the Border' especially in London, can't believe it's the first show of his in the UK for 30 years, ho hum...Part of the press release for the show goes like this:  
'The American artist Jasper Johns (b.1935) once said of Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) that he had invented more than any artist since Picasso. Rauschenberg has altered the cultural landscape and continues to exert a profound influence on contemporary artists. Robert Rauschenberg 'Botanical Vaudeville' is the first museum exhibition devoted to the artist to take place in the UK in thirty years – and it features thirty seven works made between 1982 and 1998.
Robert Rauschenberg 'Tropical Mill Glut' 1989.
 courtesy Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh/Gagosian Gallery
During this time, Rauschenberg was exploring the reflective, textural, sculptural and thematic effects of metal, glass and other reflective surfaces in several series of works. All are represented here, and the paintings and sculptures on display vary from the highly polished glamorous metallic works from the 'Shiner' and 'Borealis' series that celebrate energy and motion, to the Kabal American 'Zephyr' and 'Gluts' series which represent Rauschenberg’s; fascination with the discarded object.  He once stated: 'I think painting is more like the real world when it is made out of the real world. These works in particular benefit from being shown in natural light which is such a feature of exhibitions at Inverleith House, revealing their true colour - enhanced by multiple reflections of the viewer and garden which become part of the work.''

There are none of the big works like 'Monogram' (see below) or 'Bed' and the 'Combines', you have to go to Moma for them, however this looks like a an interesting exhibition because they are small, intimate and poetic works, in the way only Rauschenberg can make detritus look poetic..    Click below for that great interview where he discusses buying the goat for the 'Monogram' piece at the Guggenheim show back in the 1990's.

Robert Rauschenberg interview about 'Monogram' Guggenheim retrospective, 1990's

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