In 1973, on the recommendation of master printer Kenneth Tyler, Rauschenberg began a collaborative project with the paper mill Richard de Bas in Ambert, France. The artist wanted to engaged with handmade paper as one of the most ancient of artistic traditions. The resulting series, Pages and fuses, is a group of paper pulp works. The Pages are formed from natural pulp and shaped into paper pieces that incorporate twine or scraps of fabric. In contrast, the Fuses are vivid pulp pieces dyed with bright pigments. This innovative experiment with paper pulp sparked a renewed interest in handmade paper, which inspired major paper works by artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, David Hockney and Helen Frankenthaler.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010