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Neo Rauch: Paintingsby Neo Rauch
Synopses & Reviews
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the artist Neo Rauch was 30 years old, living in his East German hometown of Leipzig and just beginning to exhibit his paintings. It was the perfect moment for a painter who had been reared on Social Realism to gain access to art outside East Germany, to receive its influences into his art and to emerge onto the stage of world art as a star. At first closely identified with the generation of painters known as the Leipzig School, in recent years Rauch's wonderfully bizarre blend of Social Realism (not exactly a widely-mined style in contemporary art) with de Chirico or Stanley Spencer has come to be seen as a painterly barometer of post-Communist Europe. Post-Communist Surrealism could therefore be one way to describe the look of his canvases, which convey narrative intent--men and women from various historical eras performing obscure tasks in uniform, or midway through some ominous occasion--shifting styles several times within the same picture, but always displaying a lush brushwork. Rauch has established a particularly strong audience in the U.S., having been championed by The New York Times' Roberta Smith as the painter of the zeitgeist. Marking Rauch's fiftieth birthday and a simultaneous retrospective in Leipzig and Munich featuring works dating from 1982 to early 2010, this monograph is the most substantial appraisal of his work published to date. In it, his friends and colleagues supply testimonies, among them Luc Tuymans, Jonathan Meese and Michael Borremans. Alongside essays by critics and historians, Timm Rautert provides a photographic portrait of Rauch's studio.
Neo Rauch (born 1960) was born, reared and trained as an artist in Leipzig, where he continues to live. In August 2005, Rauch was awarded the chair of painting at Leipzig University.
Forword by Markus Bruderlin. Text by Gottfried Boehm, Gernot Boehme, Wolfgang Buscher, Holger Broeker, Markus Bruderlin, Harald Kunde, Donald Kuspit.
In a lakeside scene, a man leans on a graphic of an arrow as if it were a rake handle in the garden; tentacles rise from the shoreline and rectangular speech bubbles hang empty in the yellow sky. In a Dali-esque interior, the corner of a comforter drips off a bed. This major new overview of the work of the Leipzig painter Neo Rauch makes, once again, the case that he is one of the most important artists of his generation. He remains committed to putting brush on canvas in an age when digital media are gaining ground, and among a crowd of similarly dedicated colleagues, he stands out at the forefront. While his work of the 1980s was influenced by Expressionism, his more recent portfolio revels in a new take on Socialist Realism, clearly shaped by the experience of growing up in the former East Germany. Rauch riffs on the once-mandated styles of his youth and on Western abstraction from the second half of the twentieth century, all in coloration and figuration that directly allude to the Socialist past. Between cartoon styling and historic technique, he has found a distinctive style, palette, and concept. These dreamlike sequences feel both timeless and deeply rooted: Rauch gathers figures from the past in surreal landscapes and interiors to tell enigmatic stories about the present.
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