Robert Rauschenberg Copperhead-Bite VI / ROCI CHILE, 1985
Created in 1985, Copperhead-Bite VI / ROCI CHILE belongs to Robert Rauschenberg’s celebrated Copperhead-Bites series of the same date. His first series of work on metal, the Copperhead-Bites marked the beginning of a decade of metal production for the artist, laying the groundwork for 15 subsequent series of paintings on metal supports.
A short series of only 12 works, the Copperhead-Bites were produced for the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange (ROCI) project, conceived by the artist to foster international artistic collaboration through a series of ROCI exhibitions held in 11 countries. In 1984, he visited Chile and learnt of the significance of copper to the country’s economy, prompting him to work with the metal; he printed images taken from his photographs of Chile on the surface of the copper sheets, before applying tarnishes and hand-painted elements.
The Copperhead-Bites were featured in the 1985 ROCI CHILE exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago. Asserting the significance of this work within the series, Copperhead-Bite VI was exhibited at all subsequent ROCI venues, as well as the project’s concluding exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1991.