Rauschenberg, Quarterhorse (1975) © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Image courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
The Gagosian is holding the UK’s first exhibition of Robert Rauschenberg’s Jammers.
Consisting of twenty-one pieces, the exhibition shows another side to Rauschenberg’s works, drifting away from the gritty urban detritus that had been the basis of much of his earlier work towards a simpler, lighter and more colourful direction.
Rauschenberg said: “I never allowed myself the luxury of those brilliant, beautiful colors until I went to India and saw people walking around in them or dragging them in the mud. I realized they were not so artificial.”
The title Jammers, referring to the Windjammer sailing vessel, is a salute to Rauschenberg’s new island life, away from New York and off the Gulf coast of Florida.
Using vivid colours and nuanced textures of cotton, muslin and silk, the Jammers consist of stitched fabrics affixed to rattan poles or hung directly and loosely on the wall, focusing on the transparency and seductiveness of the veil-like fabrics.
In Quarterhorse, (1975), segments of blue, green, tan and yellow cloth evoke sandy beaches, palm trees, and bright sunshine. The hot, saturated hues of Pimiento III (1976) and Mirage (1975) attest to more exotic influences, while Coin (1976) incorporates found tin cans gleaming mysteriously inside a gauze bag that sags under their weight. Pieces such as Sprout (1975) and Caliper (1976) slightly differ from the others, with unadorned poles against the wall forming the principal formal element.
Rauschenberg explains that “even though [Jammers] are still quite romantic, my job was to impose a great amount of restraint upon myself… Nearly everything that I could think to do previously would have violated what these pieces wanted to be. And so with the fabrics, it was another kind of adventure, almost like going out and picking up garbage.”
Address: Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia St, London, WC1X 9JD