New York, David Zwirner, Neo Rauch, February - March 2000
Seattle, Henry Art Gallery; West Palm Beach, Norton Museum of Art; Tampa Museum of Art; Chicago Cultural Center, Crosscurrents at Century's End: Selections from the Neuberger Berman Art Collection, June 2003 - June 2004, pl. XLIV, p. 99, illustrated in color
Born in Leipzig in 1960, Neo Rauch trained as a Social Realist painter, an aspect of his training which continues to inform his work to date. Since early in his career, Rauch's environs began to have a strong impact on his subconscious and his imagination. There are several exceptional elements to his work such as his characteristic palette of sun-burnt colors sometimes used in monochrome, the always bulky and preoccupied characters and mash-up compositions; one could argue Rauch has created a world of his own. Influenced greatly by post-war Eastern European visual culture such as advertisements, graphic design and illustration, specifically in the works on paper, Rauch's visual language, from the faded colors and the machinery, to the clothing and paraphernalia, suggests a time that is closer to the date in which Rauch was born rather than the one he matured in.
In Einbruch, one of Rauch's most impressive works on paper from his first solo show in the United States in 2000, literally translated as "the break in", in German, the viewer is witness to a burglary. While there should be a sensation of sound and speed inherent in such an act, somehow Rauch has frozen time and his protagonists are in a mute state of limbo, completely absorbed by their tasks, almost hypnotized. This static and slightly slowed down world is build in such a manner that outdoor and indoor space, floor and ceiling are entwined into only a semblance of a room, in which scale and space are out of proportion. Taken into a "world that seems modern in a strangely old fashioned way" Rauch represents a nostalgia for an idyll past of social unity and communality. A collage of something between memory and R.E.M., the imagery is simultaneously haunting but also mesmerizing and indulging. (Daniel Birnbaum, Neo Rauch, Neo Rauch and the Vicious Circle, Bonnefantenmuseum, Hatje Cantz, p. 11). Rauch's oeuvre is a testament to the medium of painting and demonstrates a long standing commitment and belief in the development of the art form.
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