The UCCA presents their biggest show for the summer, Rauschenberg in China, which is open now until August 21. Organized by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and curated by Susan Davidson and David White, the event marks the first major exhibition in over three decades to showcase Rauschenberg's work to Chinese audiences.

Robert Rauschenberg was an American painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the pop art movement. He is perhaps best known for his 'combines' which he created in the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in varying innovative combinations.

The exhibition is centered on the biggest one of these: Robert Rauschenberg's 109-part and 305-meter art piece titled 'The 1/4 Mile' or '2 Furlong Piece.' The piece itself hasn't been on display since 2000, and took the artist a perplexing 17 years to complete between 1981 and 1998. 

The exhibition also includes a selection of Rauschenberg's color photographs titled 'Study for Chinese Summerhall,' taken in China during his travels in 1982 with a Hasselblad camera, the only body of color photography the artist ever designated as art. The pictures include scenes of daily life in early reform-era China, capturing the beauty in the mundane.

As Rauschenberg had frequent interaction with China in the 1980s, there is also a selection of archival materials documenting his first ever trip to a paper mill in Jingxian, Anhui Province, which is one of the world's oldest paper mills, as well as his exhibitions in 1985 in both Beijing and Lhasa. 

“We are thrilled to revisit Rauschenberg’s unique position in China’s contemporary art history through a substantive presentation of a major work which was created at exactly the moment of this encounter,” notes UCCA Director Philip Tinari. “It is particularly exciting to be opening our exhibition in the same year as the Tate and MoMA retrospective, and thus to be participating in a worldwide reassessment of Rauschenberg’s multifaceted, global legacy. We hope that this exhibition will illustrate not only how Rauschenberg inspired China, but how China inspired him.”

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Photos courtesy of the UCCA, 1stdibs.com


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