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June 2007 - Nr. 6


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The Met Pays Tribute to German Artist Neo Rauch

 TWIG - As Sinatra once crooned, "if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere" - and so it is that Neo Rauch has arrived in New York. The Leipzig-based artist's hypnotically enigmatic canvases are now on view in a special solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Rauch, 47, is one of Germany's most successful contemporary artists and one of the most widely acclaimed painters of his generation. His mesmerizing images seemingly frozen in a strange timeless stasis of surreal compositions and colors are coveted by collectors in Berlin and beyond. On view at the Met are more than 10 new paintings Rauch made specifically for the exhibition.

"For me, painting means the continuation of a dream with other means," Rauch said in a statement, adding that he was inspired by misplaced memories and momentary perceptions that were lost before they could be named. He therefore chose the title para for his exhibition - a play on words such as paranormal, parallel and paradox.

"On my canvas, in my head, everything is possible," Rauch said. A painting of a young man cradling an older man the size of a baby in his arms, for example, commemorates Rauch's father, who died very young.

"Shaped by the experience of growing up in East Germany, Rauch's paintings teeter between Surrealism and popular imagery and defy easy interpretation.

Viewers are drawn into scenes replete with strange beings and ambiguous landscapes," the Met states on its website. "With a distinctive palette of bright acidic colors contrasting with deep shadows, the artist's paintings conjure up an atmosphere of confused nostalgia and failed utopias."

A native of Leipzig, Rauch studied at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts and now teaches there as a professor. He is the forerunner of the so-called New Leipzig School, an artistic movement marked by social realist figure painting with enigmatic narratives and surrealist overtones.

Rauch is only the third artist in the Metropolitan Museum's series dedicated to artists at mid-career, following exhibitions by American artists Tony Oursler in 2005 and Kara Walker in 2006.

The Neo Rauch exhibition, which opened on Tuesday (May 22), runs through October 14 at the Met. It will then travel to the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Germany, where it will run through March 2008.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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