Cardboard and rope
22.10.08 | 19.01.09
½ Gals. / AAPCO (Cardboard)
MAC collection - Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille
Cardboard boxes of different size are opened, folded, attached by means of metal stitches and arranged in a bizarre “wall construction” that adheres to the two-dimensional character of the wall and at the same time betrays it, looking for a relation with real life. The artist left the cardboard boxes as he found them, so that their dirty marks, tears, dents or printed letters would tell their story. By alternating empty and full spaces, interruptions and recesses of the work, the artist recreates the accidentality of the story. The titles of the works, like ½ Gals. / AAPCO (Cardboard), derive from the original content of the boxes, in this case: half gallons of pesticides of the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials. Other titles are ironical comments on ambiguity of the present day. Serita/ Blister Pack (Cardboard), for example, is a large, rectangular box which sticks out from the wall like a giant cabinet with its doors slightly ajar. On one hand the image of an arrow lures you into peering inside; on the other, the flaps reads: «Important notice: this merchandise was packed in perfect condition. All claims must be made with the delivering carrier.»
In the autumn of 1970 Rauschenberg moves to the island of Captiva, in Florida, and abandons the materials offered by the streets of New York to turn to an industrial material the can be found everywhere and has no aesthetic value: cardboard packaging boxes. The artist uses this soft waste material between December 1970 and October 1971 to create a new cycle of works called Cardboards. After becoming the symbol of the expanding American capitalism in the post-second war period, in the 1960s packaging boxes are first celebrated by Andy Warhol as “product” in the Brillo Soap Pads Box of 1964 and subsequently used as “material” by Mel Brochner in the Standards and Measurement cycles of 1969. Rauschenberg executes his Cardboards in this context, and they soon find their original place between the materials used by the Arte Povera and the Antiform movements, denouncing the vulnerability and the fragile illusion of a rational order that can easily get deformed or collapse under the pressure of something so simple as moisture.
I have deliberately used every opportunity with my work to create a focus on world problems, local atrocities and in some rare instances celebrate men’s ...
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