Under the hammer 13/17: Graffiti Theft

  • Graffiti Theft 1

  • Graffiti Theft 2

  • Graffiti Theft 3

For Under The Hammer’s thirteenth week, Simon Williams takes his inspiration from the American artist Robert Rauschenberg (October 22, 1925 – May 12, 2008). He was a prolific innovator of techniques and mediums and he practiced, among other things, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, papermaking, collage and performance.

With his new [Un]original Williams decides to highlight Rauschenberg’s image transfer technique. It is a process combining handmade strokes with texts and images from newspapers and glossy magazines. After soaking the printed image in a solvent - water in the earliest examples then turpentine or lighter fluid - Rauschenberg placed the image face down on paper and transferred it with a series of hatch marks created by rubbing a dry pen nib across the back of the image.

Graffiti Theft was made with a similar technique; a piece of cotton sheet was pressed onto a selection of graffiti artworks, from the streets of North London, which had been sprayed with solvent.