Robert Rauschenberg at the Tate
Report by Sarah Roberts
Until the 2nd of April, the Tate Modern will pay homage to the ground-breaking American artist Robert Rauschenberg, in a show chronicling six decades of his work.
From its beginning, Tate Modern’s Robert Rauschenberg show plunges you into the artist’s curious and unconventional world. His incredibly varied use of materials takes the viewer on an unexpected visual journey, from paintings made of dirt, to prints encapsulating the hope and heartbreak of 1960s America, and a stuffed Angora goat eternally trapped within a car tyre.
The exhibition moves through Rauschenberg’s life and career in segments of experimentation; each room represents a shift in his practice and use of resources. His early work set the tone for the rest of his remarkable career, as he began to work across a multitude of media, and sought collaboration with Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning, and friend John Cage.
Rauschenberg’s constant reinvention, and unwavering experimentation and curiosity, kept him ahead of the pack. Only ever using what he could find, his work was always a reaction to, and incorporation of, the world around him. Towards the end of his life, he formed the ‘Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange’, a self-funded project where he travelled to countries that he had identified as having a difficult artistic environment. There he developed pieces of art using local wares. His progressive global perspective and constant striving for a new way of doing things, are values that have continuing importance today, and if the exhibition proves one thing, it’s Rauschenberg’s enduring timelessness and relevance.