Robert RAUSCHENBERGGEMINI G.E.L., Cardbird door Enlarge 1 /1


United States of America 1925 – 2008



publisher (organisation)

Cardbird door [Cardbird Door [Ed. 25/25]] 1971
Collection Title: the 'Cardbird' series, 1971
Title Notes: 005-001
Place made: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: prints, planographic, stencil, collage corrugated cardboard, Kraft paper, tape, wood, metal, photo offset and screen printing Impression: 25/25
Edition: edition of 25, plus 2 artist's copies; 3 publisher's copies
Publisher: GEMINI G.E.L.
Place Published: Los Angeles
Date Published: 1971

Edition Notes: Collboration by Jeffrey Sanders, Kenneth Tyler assisted by Timothy Isham, James Robie, Jeffrey Wasserman. Production by Jeffrey Sanders, Kenneth Tyler assisted by Timothy Isham, James Robie, Jeffrey Wasserman. The Cardbird door is composed of both single and double weight corrugated cardboard boxes and fragments that were printed with screenprint and offset lithograph to match the originals used by the artist. The hand-fabricated components were reinforced with wooden substructures that added rigidity and strength before they were applied to a standard 30" hollow core door. The door faces were covered with brown Kraft paper impregnated with casein glue and water. The printed reinforced components were secured to the door with contact cement. The doors were equipped with invisible Soss hinges and Schalge lock assemblies. Special fabricated aluminum hardware was constructed to support the hand-fashioned oak doorknobs that were screenprinted.
Dimensions: cardboard 204.0 h x 95.0 w x 32.5 d cm
Cat Raisonné: Gemini GEL catalogue raisonne, no. 261
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1975
Accession No: NGA 75.603
Image rights: © Robert Rauschenberg/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy

Rauschenberg has suggested that his choice of cardboard as a material was the result of his wish ‘to work in a material of waste and softness’. The Cardbird series is a tongue-in-cheek visual joke. It is in fact a printed mimic of cardboard constructions. The labour intensive process remains invisible to the viewer – the artist created a prototype cardboard construction which was then photographed and the image transferred to a lithographic press and printed before a final lamination onto cardboard backing. By choosing the most mundane of materials, Rauschenberg once again succeeds in a glamorous make-over of the most ordinary. The Cardbird series is an exploration of a new order of materials, a radical scrambling of the material hierarchy of Modernism.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra