"I find [Marcel Duchamp's] life and work a constant inspiration. . . . His Bicycle Wheel
has always struck me as one of the most beautiful pieces of sculpture I've ever seen."--Robert Rauschenberg
In the early 1950s, Robert Rauschenberg devised a radical new form, blending two-dimensional collage techniques with three-dimensional objects on painted surfaces. Definable neither as sculpture nor painting, these works were dubbed "combines" by the artist to describe their interdisciplinary formal roots.
Trophy II is one of a series of five combines, all called "trophies," which alluded to the unconventional creative spirit of artists whose work Rauschenberg greatly admired. Using found objects, photographs, and paint, the artist considered himself "a collaborator with objects." In this way, he sought to avoid excessive autobiographical readings and instead refers to the dynamics of the urban landscape.