|Erased De Kooning Drawing, Robert Rauschenberg, 1953.|
The work is in the collection of SFMOMA and the image above is copyright of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation with the photograph by Ben Blackwell.
While I was unwell it was what would have been Robert Rauschenberg's birthday. I have not blogged about art in ages so, even though his birthday has now come and gone, I thought I would share with you this clip of Rauschenberg talking about his piece Erased de Kooning Drawing. I once gave a presentation on Rauschenberg and since then have always found his work interesting. This is mainly because his work pushes the boundaries of art and what can be considered art, an area in which I always love writing about.
Robert Rauschenberg (22nd October 1925 -12th May 2008) was an American artist. He is not normally considered to be part of any one artistic movement but his work was extremely influential especially to the Pop Artists. His work is often discussed because of his use of appropriation. In art, appropriation is when an object or image is taken from one source and made into art with little or no changes being made. This is image or object is normally a 'non-art' object but is appropriated and becomes art. One of the most famous examples of this is Marcel Duchamp's Fountain in which he places a urinal on a plinth and signs it 'R. Mutt 1917'. This ordinary object them becomes a work of art. Here Rauschenberg takes an artwork by one of the most famous artists of the time from the Abstract Expressionist movement, Willem de Kooning and erases it. He therefore is appropriating De Kooning's work but unlike Duchamp, where the urinal was before a non-art object, the object was already an art piece before he appropriated it. He transforms a work of art into a totally different work of art therefore allowing new and different interpretations to what was originally intended.
In this clip Rauschenberg talks about how the work came to be.
'The power of Erased de Kooning Drawing derives from the allure of the unseen and from the enigmatic nature of Rauschenberg’s decision to erase a de Kooning. Was it an act of homage, provocation, humor, patricide, destruction, or, as Rauschenberg once suggested, celebration?'
Rauschenberg once said 'An empty canvas is full' and here, even though the canvas only has traces of the original artwork, the canvas is still full of meaning. As the SFMOMA puts it, 'Erased de Kooning Drawing eludes easy answers, its mysterious beginnings leaving it open to a range of present and future interpretations.'
Hope that you enjoyed this blog post.
Let me know what you think about the work in the comment section below and if you would like to read anymore about this work please take a look at the SFMOMA website which I have linked. It is full of information and is where the image and video is from.
The Dorothy Days Xx