Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg: Japanese Clayworks
Jun 6 – Jul 29, 2023
Thaddaeus Ropac
Paris, France

Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais presents a selection of key works on ceramic by Robert Rauschenberg from the 1980s. Spanning works from the artist’s Japanese Clayworks series (1982/1985), as well as a further group of ceramic works made in 1989 as a continuation of this earlier series, the exhibition highlights a formative period in the artist’s career.

The Japanese Clayworks (1982/1985) feature sculptural elements, photographic imagery of ancient and modern Japan as well as distinctive brushstrokes. His Japanese Recreational Clayworks (1982–83/1985) comprise prefabricated reproductions of historical Western artworks on ceramic panels, to which Rauschenberg added his own imagery of contemporary Japan from photographs he took across the country, along with gestural brushwork.

I think collaboration is a prescription or device that keeps one from getting hung up on a strong single intention that blinds. […] Every individual that you add to a project will result in ten times as many possibilities. –Robert Rauschenberg, 1987

Travel to foreign countries, where he explored the use of local materials and worked with local artisans, was a fundamental part of Rauschenberg’s artistic practice. He embraced international cultures through his contact with people and ideas from around the world and continually challenged the potential of materials and definitions of medium and originality.