United States of America 1925 – 2008
1975 Description: from the series Bones and Unions
Collection Title: Bones and unions
Place made: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: prints, mud, rope hand-formed mud attached to four-part rope configuration Impression: artist proof 6
Edition: edition of 25 plus 9 artist's proofs, 1 right to print proof, 1 printer's proof II, 3 special proofs, 2 GEL proofs, 1 Change Inc. impression
Publisher: GEMINI G.E.L.
Date Published: 1975
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