Thursday, 17 January 2019

London Art Fair 2019

January, and therefore time for the annual visit to The Business Design Centre, Islington for the London Art Fair - the first major art fair of the year. Below are some of the pieces which I found interesting for one reason or another. The fair continues until Sunday.


London Art Fair
until 20th January
Business Design Centre
52 Upper Street
London N1 0QH

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Robert Rauschenberg: Spreads 1975-83

Untitled (Spread) - 1982

This is the first exhibition in the UK dedicated to Robert Rauschenberg's (1925-2008) Spreads series of artworks. Many of the works are executed on a large scale (the largest being over six metres wide), and follow on from and relate to his revolutionary Combines series (1954-64) in that they are hybrids of both his painting and sculptural practices. The canvas covered wood surfaces of the Spreads are heavily saturated with classic Rauschenberg screenprinted motifs, including the American flag, images from popular culture and nature, along with physical objects such as umbrellas, tyres, bed linen, clothing, mirrors, buckets and lights affixed. In lesser hands these collaged works could have ended up as a chaotic mess, but in his arrangements for the Spreads Rauschenberg maintains a sense of order, so that each piece achieves a considered cohesiveness. Rauschenberg's inventiveness in the construction of certain pieces from this series adds to their interest such as in Consul (Spread), where he curves the picture surface making it appear to have slipped off the wall and rest on the floor, and Sky Marshall (Spread), where he purposefully interrupts the picture plane by folding the construction in half.  There is much movement in these collages and their dense imagery. The eye flickers across the surfaces as if one is watching television, or a series of adverts. Asked about his use of the term "Spread", Rauschenberg responded that it meant "as far as I can make it stretch, and land (like a farmer's 'spread'), and also the stuff you put on toast." This is such a punchy, strong show of important works. Having missed his 2016 Tate Modern retrospective it was a real pleasure to catch this show and be reminded of just why Rauschenberg's place is so important in the history of art.

Installation view

Palladian Xmas (Spread) - 1980

Consul (Spread) - 1980

Clipper (Spread) - 1977

Clipper (Spread), detail - 1977

Shroud - 1979

Untitled, 1981
Sentinel - 1979

Untitled - 1980

Reflex - 1979

Vallet - 1979

Lipstick (Spread) - 1983

Lipstick (Spread), detail - 1983

Rumour (Spread) - 1980

Rumour (Spread), detail - 1980

Ruby Re-Run (Spread) - 1978

Sky Marshall (Spread) - 1978

Bough (Spread) - 1980

Bough (Spread), detail - 1980

Half a Grandstand (Spread) - 1978

Half a Grandstand (Spread), detail - 1978

Untitled (Spread) - 1982

Robert Rauschenberg: Spreads 1975-83
until 28th January
Thaddaeus Ropac
Ely House
37 Dover Street