Texts by Wolfgang Büscher, Harald Kunde, and Gary Tinterow
Bursting with radiant and unsettling juxtapositions, Neo Rauch’s paintings are wormholes into worlds of startling psychological power and cultural collisions. His scenes involve the viewer in a history that is at once mythic, intimate, and present. Through a deep consideration of philosophy, art history, literature, and his own dreamscape, Rauch’s paintings depict the precipices of progress and the struggles of communication. Electrified by their rich palettes, Rauch’s fragmented landscapes and timeless characters dance between pop and baroque, social and psychological, graphic and painterly.
Born in Leipzig in 1960, Rauch learned his trade behind the Iron Curtain. His influences and interests were shaped by personal hardship and the tumultuous changes of East Germany after the Wall fell. In the late 1980s, having finished his studies at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig under Arno Rink and Bernhard Heisig, he explored diverse approaches to painting in dialogue with works he encountered by Francis Bacon, the New Wild painters, and the pre-Renaissance painters he saw during his travels in Italy. By 1993, he had arrived at the unique style of intertwining figuration and abstraction that characterizes his oeuvre and has brought him international attention and respect.
This monograph is the most inclusive collection of Rauch’s work to date. It offers a generous range of his writings that illuminate the personal, symbolic, and formal complexities of the artist’s world. Wolfgang Büscher’s open and sensitive account of a walk through Rauch’s neighborhood reveals the painter’s compassion and modesty. Harald Kunde tracks Rauch’s stylistic development through its main semantic threads and historical influences. Gary Tinterow draws from his work on Rauch’s exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum to offer the reader a guide to the symbols that form the painter’s extensive mythology. These essays complement Rauch’s work with nuanced insights while allowing the images room to speak on their own. Within this atlas, readers will discover the rich density and enigmatic openness of Rauch’s paintings.
Artists: Neo Rauch
Contributors: Wolfgang Büscher, Harald Kunde, Gary Tinterow
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 9 3/4 x 13 in (24.8 x 33 cm)
Reproductions: 332 color, 7 b&w
Retail: $70 US & Canada | £45 | €50
Neo Rauch’s paintings are characterized by a unique combination of realism and surrealist abstraction. In many of his compositions, human figures engaged in manual labor or indeterminable tasks work against backdrops of mundane architecture, industrial settings, or bizarre and often barren landscapes. These figures, though squarely centered in his paintings, often have the appearance of being part of still lifes devoid of a human presence or collaged elements belonging to different time zones. Scale is frequently arbitrary and non-perspectival, which adds to an overall dreamlike atmosphere; the spatial relationships construct their own imaginary realm.
Wolfgang Büscher has written several books, among them the bestsellers Berlin–Moskau: Eine Reise zu Fuß (2003), Asian Absences (2008), and Hartland (2011).
Harald Kunde is director of the Museum Kurhaus Kleve, having previously been director of the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen and the Kunsthaus Dresden. He has worked on numerous exhibitions and publications with contemporary artists, including Atelier van Lieshout, Sophie Calle, Chuck Close, Franz Gertsch, Barbara Kruger, Dan Perjovschi, Neo Rauch, Roman Signer, and Erwin Wurm.
Gary Tinterow is the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. During his 27-year tenure at the Metropolitan Museum in New York he organized dozens of exhibitions on European painters of the last two centuries, from Ingres and Gericault to Picasso and Matisse. In 2007 he organized Neo Rauch: Para.