From 1951 to 1953, Robert Rauschenberg made a number of artworks that explore the limits and very definition of art. These works recall and effectively extend the notion of the artist as creator of ideas, a concept first broached by Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) with his iconic readymades of the early twentieth century. With Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), Rauschenberg set out to discover whether an artwork could be produced entirely through erasure—an act focused on the removal of marks rather than their accumulation.
I love the idea here of making art by removing things. It’s somewhat akin to removing stone in a block of marble to create a sculpture, but at the same time this is also different. I’m also reminded of the idea of a photo negative or the concept of publishing negative results in science to give us a fuller picture of an area. Translating this idea from art into broader life could be quite interesting.
Hat tip: graffiti story, body art