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United States of America 1925 – 2008



publisher (organisation)

Ally 1975 Description: Ally: from Bones and unions

Collection Title: the 'Bones and unions' series, 1975
Title Notes: RR75-715
Place made: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: prints, rag-mud, rope, dyed string, bamboo Support: rag-mud
Impression: artist proof 7
Edition: edition of 13, plus 7 artist's proofs; right to print; printer's proof II; 3 special proofs; 2 Gemini impressions; Change, Inc. impression
Publisher: GEMINI G.E.L.
Place Published: Los Angeles
Date Published: 1975

Edition Notes: Collaboration by Charles Ritt. Experimentation and development by Pal Balbu, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Ritt, Hisashika Takahashi.Production by Pal Balbu, Sidney Felsen, Suzy Felsen, Manu, Robert Petersen, Christopher Rauschenberg, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Ritt, Hisashika Takahashi. Rag-mud is a mixture of paper pulp, fenugreek powder, ground tamarind seed, chalk powder, gum powder, copper sulphate, and gum powder mixed to a paste with water. The rag mud was shaped by hand from the artist's drawings. A rope was looped and then imbedded to protrude for hanging. Bamboo was cut, then tied to two dyed strings and strung through the openings on either side of the piece.
Primary Insc: RR 75-715, cat. 640
Dimensions: overall 114.3 h x 124.5 w x 8.9 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1977
Accession No: NGA 77.907.6
Image rights: © Robert Rauschenberg/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy
  • Rauschenberg’s quest for international involvement took him to Ahmadabad, India, to work in a paper mill that had been established as an ashram for ‘untouchables’. His specific environment provided him with materials and he set about making the Bones and unions series. In the creating the Unions, Rauschenberg sought to incorporate the mud that was used by the villagers to build their homes. He concocted a rag-mud mixture, which consisted of paper pulp, fenugreek powder, ground tamarind seed, chalk powder, gum powder and copper sulphate mixed with water, all of which was then kiln fired. For the Bones (on the opposite wall), the collaborative team combined strips of  bamboo with handmade paper embedded with segments of brightly coloured Indian fabrics. For Rauschenberg, the striking contrast between the sensuous colour of the saris and the aromatic and earthy aesthetic of the rag-mud encapsulated the manifest social and cultural contrasts of India.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra