While Cindy Sherman plays with the creation of narratives, Robert Rauschenberg plays with decomposing them. Rauchenberg is known for his “combines” of the 1950s, “in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations.” In these combines, Rauschenberg combines materials ranging from photographs, to newspaper articles, memorabilia, and more in three dimensional collages. Staring at the collage as a whole, the mind moves around the work trying to construct a narrative out of its many pieces, but such a satisfying resolution never comes. This is because there is no real relationship between the objects in the combine except for their mere proximity to each other.
Besides a general feeling of discomfort, for me this represents an image of our own identities, which we attempt to construct a comforting narrative about, but in reality is just a construct of random events in proximity to each other.