Sunday, 3 April 2016

"You begin with the possibilities of the material"

R. Rauschenberg

Rober Rauschenberg

Cardbirds is a series of artworks produce between 1970 and 1971 by the predecessor of Pop Art - Robert Rauschenberg.
Raushenberg born in Texas in 1925. After his studies he settled down in New York where he met the artists Cy Twobly and Knox Martin. During his life he acted as an important bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art and can be credited as one of the major influences in the return to favour of representational art in the USA.
Rauschenberg’s works from the 1970s reflect his incessant experimentation with new materials. 
Where the 1960s were dominated by repetitive mass media imagery, the 1970s reveal a focus on natural fibres, a simplification of the artist’s materials to incorporate fabric, cardboard and other natural elements such as mud, rope and handmade paper. 

Cardbird IV (detail)

The catalyst for this dramatic change in both subject matter and material can be explained by a change in Rauschenberg’s physical environment – his decision to move from New York City to Captiva Island, Florida, had a profound effect on the appearance of his work.
With no city to offer up its detritus, the artist turned to the things that surrounded him in his new environment and the move had yielded numerous cardboard boxes. 
Rauschenberg has suggested that his choice of cardboard as a new material was the result of:

"A desire … to work in a material of waste and softness
Something yielding with its only message a collection of lines imprinted like a friendly joke. A silent discussion of their history exposed by their new shapes".

Cardbird IV (detail)

The Cardbird series of 1971 is a tongue-in-cheek visual joke, a printed mimic of cardboard constructions

The labour intensive process involved in the creation of the series remains invisible to the viewer – the artist created a prototype cardboard construction which was then photographed and the image transferred to a lithographic press and printed before a final lamination onto cardboard backing. 

The extreme complexity of construction belies the banality of the series and, in this way, Rauschenberg references both Pop’s Brillo boxes by Andy Warhol and Minimalist boxes such as those by Donald Judd

By selecting the most mundane of materials, Rauschenberg once again succeeds in a glamorous makeover of the most ordinary of objects. This is an exploration of a new order of materials, a radical scrambling of the material hierarchy of modernism.

Cardbird IV (Retro)

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ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG 1925 –2008 Port Arthur, Texas 1925 –2008 Captiva Island, Florida (American) Title: Cardbird IV, 1971 Technique: Original Hand Signed, Dated and Numbered Collage with Offset Lithograph, Screenprint and Tape on Corrugated Cardboard. Paper size: 99.6 × 99 cm. / 39.2 x 39 in. Additional Information: This original work is hand signed in black felt-tip pen by the artist "Rauschenberg" verso and dated “71” (1971) next to the signature. It is also numbered in black felt pen "31/75" on the verso. It is from the series “Cardbirds” produced between 1970 and 1971. The work was published and printed by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles in a limited edition of 75 signed and numbered impressions in 1971. There were also six artist’s proofs. It bears the Gemini G.E.L stamp, verso. Literature: Robert Rauschenberg: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1966–2005. Los Angeles: Gemini G.E.L. Reference: Gemini 306 Condition: Excellent condition. Soft, unobtrusive creasing at the sheet edges.

Sunday, 13 March 2016


Œdipus & the Sphinx after Ingres, 1983

Oedipus, a character from Greek mythology, is facing the Sphinx, a monster, with the face, head, and shoulders of a woman, a lion's body, and bird's wings. 
When the monster asked him:
"What is it that has a voice and walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three in the evening?" 
Oedipus answered that it was man who, as a child crawls on all fours, as an adult walks on two legs, and in old age uses a stick as a third leg. 
The theme of the story is the triumph of intelligence and one of man confronting his destiny since Oedipus's exploit will lead to him becoming king of Thebes and marrying his mother Jocasta, as the oracle had predicted when he was born.

In 1808,  this story was the subject of a work by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, who was then the resident artist at the Villa Medici, in Rome.

In 1983, Francis Bacon, whose work has been inspired by the works of classical artists, such
as Velázquez, reinterpreted the composition.
 ‘Oedipus no longer occupies the centre of the painting, as in Ingres; instead, he is pushed to the right-hand side and left only partially visible in
an otherwise empty centre: a thigh and a foot, abundantly wrapped in bandages and displaying deep and bloody wounds. 
While, in Ingres, Oedipus dominates, occupying the centre, safely manipulating the sphinx, Bacon transforms the winner into a loser’, wrote the critic David Sylvester (Interviews with Bacon).

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FRANCIS BACON 1909-1992 Dublin 1909-1992 Madrid (Irish / British) Title: Œdipus & the Sphinx after Ingres, 1983 Technique: Original Hand Signed and Numbered Lithograph in colours on Arches wove paper. Paper size: 127 x 90 cm. / 50 x 35.4 in. Image size: 117 x 86 cm. / 46.1 x 33.9 in. Additional Information: This lithograph is hand signed in pencil by the artist "Francis Bacon" in the lower right margin. It is also inscribed in pencil "HC" (Hors Commerce) in the lower left margin. The work was printed in a limited edition of 150 impressions by Arts Litho, France and published by Éditions de la Différence, Paris in 1983 The paper bears the printer's dry stamp at the lower margin. Literature: 1. Tacou, A. Francis Bacon,Estampes. Editions Bervillé. Reference: Tacou 17 2. Sabatier, B. (2012) Francis Bacon: Oeuvre Graphique - Graphic Work. Catalogue Raisonné. Paris: JSC Modern Art Gallery. Reference: Sabatier 18