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Monogram (1955 – 59), Mixed Media, Robert Rauschenberg

Multiplicity, Variety and Inclusion:  these are the art mantras that Rauschenberg defined as his working practice.

The Tate Modern have sectioned this retrospective into Rauschenberg’s working practice into bitesized rooms – experimentation, colour, combines, transfer drawings, silkscreens, live, technology, material abstraction, travel, metal and late works.  But the rooms could quite easily have been situated under one big umbrella described as ‘experiments’.  It became apparent to me, that whatever media he had used to communicate his ideas or thoughts, they were worked through as experimental pieces, each representing a mode of working.  But what can I take from such an amazing body of an artist’s works?  What could I possibly hope to achieve by analysing each work in turn?  I believe it is the creative thinking throughout the experimentation that Rauschenberg left as an imprint upon many of these works.  Yes, many are, I believe intuitive, but his layered work is as he says a ‘multiplicity’, a multiplicity of creative thought materialised through this desire for an unceasing search for a mode of working that would be right for each possibility of thought.   I believe that I can take something from this – a need for a stronger connection in my own work with the words ‘play’ and ‘experiment’.  Through the use of differing techniques and modes of working I aim to be brave and not fearful in the choices I make and the approaches I take.

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