I have always felt very attracted to Pop Art. Especially to Rauschenberg, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein. The desires of a collector cannot always be pursued and realised: you can’t bring home everything you like, if you intend to build a real collection, with an underlying structure, and possible and plausible interconnections, capable of giving “a meaning” to an entire context of works sourced with a specific objective in mind. Our own story, in this sense, is full of voluntary sacrifices, which have nevertheless left a sign of regret, almost of “loss” for a horizon that we would have liked to be increasingly vast. But, in expanding our choices, we would have lost sight of our objective: a solid collection of post-war Italian art and Arte Povera, to which would be added contemporary artists (both Italian and foreign) who might enter into dialogue with and relate to the central nucleus of the collection.
This Hoarfrost of 1975 (a unique piece) by Rauschenberg thus corresponds to an irresistible urge to have at home a fragment of this great artist, who I have always admired so much. Of course, had I been able to push myself further, I would have opted for a combine painting of the late 1950s. But, in my opinion, this Hoarfrost provides a significant expression of the artist’s work. In addition, I find it a beautiful composition: bright, glittering, incisive, enhanced by the cardboard. When subsequently, in 1997, I discovered on the cover of the catalogue for the Rauschenberg retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the image of a Hoarfrost of 1975, I decided that it was an important work by the artist that I wanted to keep.
I had positioned it alone, in a place where no other work might interfere with its different language, compared to the other presences in the house. Then, one day, I acquired a beautiful piece by Jessica Stockholder, who I very much admire: a large painted panel propped against the wall, which extends with threads of woollen yarn towards the space in front of it and is transformed into a wonderful floor sculpture.
I don’t know why, but at this point I instinctively placed them together in one room: the effect was extraordinarily lively and dialectic. It was only several years later, reading an interview with Stockholder, that I discovered that she had always “thought” of Rauschenberg’s work in her nevertheless autonomous artistic development. It was like a revelation to me, to have succeeded on my own in intuiting distant assonances.
I have carefully examined the many details of this Hoarfrost, with its wealth of images one close to another: they are all “amalgamated” in a single basic vision, and I find that even the apposition of the cardboard, in the upper part of the work, is an element that adds beauty to the piece.