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Robert RAUSCHENBERG

United States of America 1925 – 2008

artist

GEMINI G.E.L.

publisher (organisation)

Quorum 1975 Description: Quorum: from Bones and unions

Collection Title: the 'Bones and unions' series, 1975
Title Notes: RR75-720
Place made: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: multiples, rag-mud, string Support: rag-mud
Impression: artist proof 6
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 Hisashika Takahashi, Das, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Peterson. Edition production by Rosamund Felsen, Robert Rauschenberg, Charles Ritt, Sarabhai family. Rag-mud is a mixture of paper pulp, fenugreek powder, ground tamarind seed, chalk powder, gum powder, copper sulfate, gum powder mixed to a paste with water, and tamarind seed mixed to a paste with water. The rag-mud was shaped by hand from the artist's drawing. Indian rope was looped and imbedded to protrude for hanging. While the rag-mud was being shaped, seven holes were formed from a bamboo jig. A length of rope was imbedded into the mud piece as it was shaped by the artist. The other end of the rope slipped through the bamboo and was then knotted.
Primary Insc: RR 75-720, cat. 645
Dimensions: overall 18.5 h x 115.0 w x 5.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1977
Accession No: NGA 77.907.11
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