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Exhibition Review : Robert Rauschenberg at the Tate Modern – 1st December 2016 to 2nd April 2017

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The Tate Modern presents a major exhibition of the work of Robert Rauschenberg, organised in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition will be the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work for 20 years.

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The exhibition begins by exploring some of Rauschenberg’s early experiments at Black Mountain College in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the college was considered one of the most progressive in the United States and attracted other artists in a number of disciplines  including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, David Tudor, Cy Twombly and Susan Weil.

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Even at this time, Rauschenberg was exploring the boundaries of art with his seminal Erased de Kooning Drawing and Automobile Tire Print in 1953. In 1954, he began to experiment with what would later be considered Pop Art. One of his friends, Merce Cunningham who was creating a reputation in dance  asked the artist to design a set for a new piece with music by John Cage.

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In 1954, Rauschenberg began to create ‘Combines’ that were paintings with objects added to give a more 3D effect, two of his most famous Combines are featured in the exhibition, Monogram 1955 – 59 which features a stuffed goat and Bed 1955.

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As the 1960s began, Rauschenberg like a number of other artists began to include icons of American society into his work. His preferred method of media was silkscreen on which he would include images taken from photographs. The silkscreens were very popular and raised Rauschenberg profile, successful exhibitions in New York and London was followed by success at the Venice Biennale where he became the first American to win a prize for painting.

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The 1970s saw Rauschenberg travelling the world and finding ways to explore Live performances and using technology. One of the highlights of the exhibition is Mad Muse 1968 -71 which is a large tank full of clay and water which bubbles and spurts as air is released.

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His travels continued into the 1980s and he founded the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Exchange that encourages the use of art to overcome cultural and political divides. Closer to home, a trip to his home state of Texas led to a series of works featuring discarded gas station signs and car parts.

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The artist’s later works were generally photographic with many of the works referring to pieces from his past.

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This entertaining and intriguing exhibition introduces Rauschenberg’s work to a wider audience and offers the opportunity to see some of the artist’s seminal works. From his early experimental pieces to his last works, Robert Rauschenberg explored the boundaries of art. He used a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, print-making, technology, stage design and performance to attempt to understand world around him. It is his originality and ability to be ahead of trends rather than following that goes some way to explain why is considered one of the most interesting American artists of the 20th century.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

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Exhibition Review : Performing for the Camera at Tate Modern – 18th February to 12th June 2016

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Tate Modern explores the relationship between photography and performance in their exhibition, Performing for the Camera.

Since the invention of photography in the 19th century, the genre has been concerned with showing art and performance, the exhibition brings together over 500 images spanning 150 years which document  performance works such as Yves Klein’s Anthropometrie de l’epoque blue 1960, a live painting event using the bodies of naked women, as well as key 60s performances by Yayoi Kusama, Marta Minujín and Niki de Saint Phalle.

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Some of the earliest works in the exhibition look at the way that photography began to used showing famous performers acting out their characters from the stage. Photographs from Nadar’s studio in 19th century Paris show the famous mime artist Charles Deburau acting out poses as the character ‘Pierrot’ and famous actress Sarah Bernhardt in a series of roles.

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Later works drawing on this same idea include Harry Shunk and Janos Kender with their photographs of dancer, Merce Cunningham in 1964. Eikoh Hosoe’s Kamataichi, a collaboration with the choreographer and founder of the Butoh movement Tatsumi Hijikata in 1969 is one of the first to have given equal authorial credit to the performing subject and the photographer.

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Ideas of self-identity are explored through works by Claude Cahun, Man Ray and Cindy Sherman, as well as projects like Samuel Fosso’s African Spirits 2008 where the artist photographs himself in the guise of iconic figures. The exhibition also looks at the ways that portraiture has been used by photographers like Lee Friedlander, Masahisa Fukase and Hannah Wilke.

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Marketing and self promotion have always played a major part in photography and recent masters of the form, artists Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol illustrate how identity can be formed and distorted for a particular event.

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In many ways, most of the exhibition illustrates the photographer and the photographed as two separate entities, however, the modern world of social media and selfies offers the subject as photographer which raises a series of questions about the lines between photography and performance. A recent work staged on Instagram by Amalia Ulman illustrates the ways that people are using their poses for photographs to seemingly find ways of validating their identity.

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Performing for the Camera is an interesting and thought-provoking exhibition that explores the relationship between photography and performance. From the earliest days of photography, there seems to have been an element of performing for the camera. Over the last 150 years, this performance has led to a wide range of applications from serious performances to more informal humour and improvisation. The exhibition provides of plenty of evidence that photography’s influence has grown considerably till it has now become a constant presence in the lives of millions, many now recording their own and others performances each day.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Performing for the Camera

Tate Modern: Exhibition

18 February – 12 June 2016

Adult £16.00 (without donation £14.50)

Concession £14.00 (without donation £12.70)

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here