Neo Rauch Exhibition

David Zwirner 19th Street

poster for Neo Rauch Exhibition

This event has ended.

David Zwirner presents an exhibition of new work by German painter Neo Rauch. Educated at the now legendary Hochschule fur Grafik und Buch-
kunst in Leipzig, Germany, Rauch (b. 1960) has become one of his
generation’s most influential and virtuoso painters. He continues
the rich tradition of Leipzig figurative painting. The artist transforms typical industrious scenes into veritable dreamscapes, transporting viewers to a deeply personal and enigmatic, symbolic universe.

Rauch does not rely on existing imagery or models for his paintings, and while some begin as tiny sketches, he works his imagined scenes directly onto the canvas. He likens his process to reading a novel, with the paintings unfolding as surprisingly for their maker as for any viewer. Springing from dreams and shaped by experience, both past
and present, Rauch’s instinctive imagery and automatic approach exceed straightforwardly Surrealist concerns and restrictive exercise.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Rauch does not set out to create a cohesive group of paintings for his exhibitions. Made without preconceptions, the pictures fertilize one another in the studio, with colors, symbols, and forms (cartoon-like and realistically rendered) drifting and reappearing among canvases. In many of his compositions,
hulking figures engaged in manual labor or indeterminable tasks work against backdrops of mundane architecture, bizarre and often barren landscapes, or domestic interiors. Rauch’s fascination with the figure and work-related props allow for a formal exploration, based in part on the properties of paint itself.

Inspired as much by Old Masters as by the rebelliousness of painters Georg Baselitz and Jörg Immendorff, Rauch’s work refuses fixed interpretation and defies categorization. In Das Gut, 2008, the artist presents three figures seemingly embroiled in a lovers’ quarrel, as a disquietingly stoic heroine stands between a man wielding a sword and his defenseless victim. Upon closer inspection, a stranger scene is revealed, as the male figures’ legs converge and dissolve into an amorphous finlike appendage. In the background, the same threesome is involved in an equally nebulous scene. Despite the art historical precedence, this gesture of continuous narrative, common to early Italian Renaissance painting, highlights feelings of disorientation.
Influenced by writer Léon Bloy, Rauch explores the philosophy that events occur simultaneously, rather than successively. By allowing multiple moments to visually coalesce on one canvas, his paintings act as an apt metaphor for this understanding of existence. More poignantly, the works also function reflexively as allegories of painting and the creative process.

In 2007, Rauch was the subject of a solo exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which then traveled to the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Germany. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.



from May 12, 2008 to June 21, 2008


Neo Rauch

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