Rauschenberg and dance


‘Ace’ –  By Rauschenberg

The Rauschenberg exhibition opened on December 1st at the Tate Modern- everyone has been encouraging me to go see it because he worked closely with practitioners and choreographers like Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown, so I thought I’d take a look. Whilst I thought the exhibition its self was a bit formulaic and busy, Rauschenberg’s work is really innovative and refreshing – constantly working with new ‘combines’ like colour, texture or even dance.

What interested me most about the exhibition was the way he used choreography in an unexpected way – choreographing objects and sound rather than dancers. One memorable aspect was a huge pool of murky water, which bubbled randomly ; simultaneously creating choreographed movement of splashes and a soundtrack of the water. His paintings also seemed to evoke images of dance and choreography, the awesome piece named ‘Ace’ was structure from 5 panelled canvases with what initially appeared to be random splashes of paint. However at times the boundaries of each canvas seemed to be ignored and to me this really resembled the structure of dances or scores of music with the different sections that are separated but related. I was also struck by the way his work seemed to encompass improvisation, reminding me again of the scores we created with Seke, with his performance piece named ‘Open Score’ involving tennis players, using the vibrations and reverberations of racquets to trigger the lights to flash and later movement.

Overall, Rauschenberg is highly recommended exhibition for dancers and artist alike. There’s so much crammed into the exhibition, with so many different approaches and medias for creating work. The only problem I had with the exhibition was that it was very hard to hear the sound from the videos of the performances and dance works, which was a real hindrance.