Gallery Hopping: Robert Rauschenberg’s Transfer Drawings at Offer Waterman

The works repurpose mass media of the 1950s and 60s.

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Robert Rauschenberg at Offer Waterman
Robert Rauschenberg, Apology (1968). ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016.
Robert Rauschenberg at Offer Waterman
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (De Gaulle) (1961). ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016.
Robert Rauschenberg at Offer Waterman
Robert Rauschenberg, Complete Relaxation (1958). ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016.
Robert Rauschenberg at Offer Waterman
Robert Rauschenberg, Umpire (1965). ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016.
Robert Rauschenberg at Offer Waterman
Robert Rauschenberg, Political Folly (1968). ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016.
Robert Rauschenberg at Offer Waterman
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (1968). ©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016.

In the first exhibition in the UK devoted to Robert Rauschenberg‘s transfer drawings, coinciding with a major retrospective at the Tate Modern, Offer Waterman presents over thirty drawings made by the artist during the 1950s and 60s.

Rauschenberg began his foray into the medium in 1952, after which he began to rapidly produce drawings, becoming near-prolific towards the end of that decade and into the 1960s. As such, the exhibition is particularly ripe with works from 1968—the year that he first exhibited his transfer drawings at the legendary Galerie Sonnabend in Paris.

According to the press release, the artist’s transfer drawings “are the fruit of his fascination with ‘the gap between art and life,'” which is demonstrated by the fact that they were his initial attempts to “capture and repurpose mass media.” He did so by photographing newspapers and magazines, and “impressing” them, in reverse, onto paper through a hatch-and-rub method using a dry pen nib.

Discussing Rauschenberg’s transfer drawings, long-time New York Times art critic Roberta Smith wrote, “The immediacy is thrilling: these works seem to come into being before our eyes as we trace and retrace their formation, their instantaneousness. They happen in a flash and never stop happening.”

Robert Rauschenberg, Transfer Drawings from the 1950s and 1960s” is on view at Offer Waterman, London through January 13, 2017.


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