Esistono al mondo collezioni d’arte di vario genere, celebri, interessanti, importanti. In questo caso incontriamo un uomo che ha fondato nel 2011 una Fondazione che prende il suo stesso nome. Jens Faurschou ha sempre cercato di mantenere un equilibrio attivo, dove la celebrità, l’interesse e l’importanza siano obbiettivi che l’arte raggiunge già con le opere e lui nel scegliere con coraggio quello che l’arte mostra.
Paola Ricci: Rauschenberg has been called a forerunner of essentially every postwar movement since Abstract Expressionism. He believed that “painting relates to both art and life”.
Why has The FAURSCHOU FOUNDATION thought of holding this important exhibition about this particular historical context of artworks by Rauschenberg in Venice ?
Jens Faurschou: Since Robert Rauschenberg’s successful exhibition of his silkscreens in Venice, more than three decades ago in 1964, this show brings everything full circle – there is even a photograph by Ugo Mulas in the “Late Series” catalogue, which shows RR transporting silkscreen works on a boat in Venice.
-The Venice exhibition can be seen as an opportunity to bring viewers’ attention to Rauschenberg’s silkscreen works, as well as a fresh perspective on the story behind the development of these particular type of works. Our point of departure, here ,was the meeting between Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol in 1962, in which both artists exchanged ideas and inspired one another to work with this new medium. It is easy to forget that before pioneering artists like AW and RR started using silkscreens as an art form, it was only considered a technique that could be used in the commercial realm
Paola Ricci: Rauschenberg said: ”It is important that art be unjustifiable”. Do you think contemporary art could be described with this sentence?
Jens Faurschou: What Rauschenberg meant by this is that intensity and joy justify themselves in an artwork – This is something that is perhaps missing in a lot of artists’ work today, as priority has shifted from art-making to money-making alone, following the art market boom of the last decades.
Paola Ricci:Do you think that art can change the world and your Foundation with your support artists, initiatives can contribute to this change?
Jens Faurschou: Raurschenberg’s belief was that art can change the world (Rauschenberg has often been quoted to have said: “Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. I try to act in the gap between the two”)
-proof are RR’s many philanthropic endeavours, using art as a vehicle for social change, locally and globally (most notably in his ROCI project)
– Faurschou Foundation supports artists who share Rauschenberg’s belief, such as Ai Weiwei, Yoko Ono, Shirin Neshat and Santiago Sierra, to name just a few
Paola Ricci: Rauschenberg was a strong believer in collaboration between artists and across cultures. His life and work demonstrated how art could be a vehicle for social change, locally and globally. Could you explain to us which areas the Foundation are focusing on now and how the artists collaborate with each other?
Jens Faurschou: Faurschou Foundation focuses on supporting artists who tackle serious political, economic and social problems, most notably Ai Weiwei, who raises awareness through large-scale installations and by involving a large number of people across the globe
-With our Beijing and Copenhagen spaces, we focus on introducing Western audiences to non-Western artists and vice versa (we believe this is an important way of creating cultural exchange)
-We also aim to encourage collaborations between artists. Jens Haaning and Santiago Sierra’s exhibition “The Copenhagen Declaration” is a good example of this.
-We also encourage artists to explore new fields and break new ground, e.g. by sending a internationally acclaimed Chinese painter, Liu Xiaodong, to a remote region in Greenland this spring and summer.
Paola Ricci: Us Silkscreeners… & Late Series of Rauschenberg are in this exhibition at Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. The transfer drawings (largely produced simultaneously with the later Combines) brought the element of collage onto a two-dimensional plane; found images were now continuous with the picture surface and were mixed with freely drawn and painted areas. Printmaking remained central to Rauschenberg’s art-making practice due to the medium’s inherent reproductibility and the wide range of effects it enabled him to achieve.
Does the catalogue give us information about the artistic evolution of these works and the friendship of the artist with Andy Warhol and the encounter with Ileana Sonnabend?
Jens Faurschou: Yes, the catalogue “Us Silkscreeners…” sheds light on both of these aspects
-Gerard Malanga and Christopher Makos’ essays both give a personal account on Warhol and Raurschenberg’s relationship, with Malanga focusing on the early encounter in 1962 and Makos on the later meeting of the two in 1982 on the occasion of a group exhibition in Berlin. All other contributors give their point of view on what the relationship between the two artists meant in terms of their use of silkscreens, with Barry Blinderman and Richard Meyer giving an especially detailed account of the meeting in 1962.
-The artistic evolution of Raurschenberg’s works from transfer drawings to silkscreens (particularly the late series, exhibited this year in Venice) is mentioned in my Foreword, and is elaborated upon by Roni Feinstein (p.21 in the “Us Silkscreeners…” catalogue), and Blinderman (p.66 in the same catalogue)
Paola Ricci: Choosing to begin the exhibition with the Renaissance work, 1962, is an act of creating an important history and memory to the artist.
What do you think is important in preparing a present exhibition today?
Jens Faurschou: It is important to remember history, but maybe it is even more important to bring history to the present, and also look at history from a fresh perspective.
-Some things become more clear over time, e.g. the meeting between Rauschenberg and Warhol in 1962 and its impact, not only on the two artist’s careers, but on present-day art at large.
-Rauschenberg’s works are just as relevant, if not even more relevant, today, as they were at the time of their creation.
-Preparing an exhibition, such as the one we organized this year in Venice, provides us with a chance to focus on a body of work that is in need of much more attention, and is capable of following up on exhibitions in the past. “Late Series” is, in fact, a follow up on the sublime exhibition, “Gluts,” which took place at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in 2009 – also in Venice!
E’una scelta coraggiosa di Jens Faurschou di manifestare il messaggio di Rauschenberg, l’intensità e la gioia si giustificano in un’opera d’arte; egli lo fa diventare un messaggio esterno che è forse mancante in molti lavori di artisti oggi, come lui ci dice, poiché la priorità si è spostata dalla produzione artistica al solo pagamento di denaro, seguendo il mercato dell’arte boom degli ultimi decenni.
La Fondazione incoraggia l’arte e nello specifico l’artista a esplorare nuovi territori e aiutarlo a fare questo, come il lavoro che sta compiendo di inviare il pittore cinese acclamato a livello internazionale, Liu Xiaodong, in una regione remota in Groenlandia.