7 Characters Truth

ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG (1925-2008)

7 Characters Truth, 1982
Mixed media – silks, ribbons, and paper
43 x 31 inches

American artist Robert Rauschenberg is known for his constructed works of art from the discards of urban civilization. Rauschenberg’s work reflects a desire to incorporate a part of the self into the work of art, bridging the gap between aesthetic production and life. In 1955, with the rendering of Bed, he began to incorporate into his large abstract paintings not just pieces, but complete objects that he selected to be art. The juxtaposing of the diverse components made it difficult for the public to understand his work. According to Rauschenberg, the seemingly unrelated objects arranged in such a chaotic manner simply stood for the inexhaustible array of visual signs surrounding society in the age of consumer culture and mass media. He called them “combined paintings.” The viewer is forced to look at ordinary things in a different context. Rauschenberg gained recognition in the 1950s and was often associated with a movement called Neo-Dada. His work is now considered to represent the bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. In 7 Character Truth, Rauschenberg incorporates visual icons and Chinese characters to force us to ponder their meaning. The Chinese character cast into the paper means “sincerity.”