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Neo Rauch at Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden

June 23, 2011

The summer exhibition 2011 at the Museum Frieder Burda is dedicated to the German painter and principal artist of the New Leipzig School, Neo Rauch. The show presents around 40 main works from the past 20 years. Many of these works are publicly exhibited for the first time. Four significant large format paintings as well as ten drawings by Neo Rauch are part of the collection Frieder Burda. The loans come from German and European public and private collections. In addition to the paintings and drawings, the show also presents a bronze sculpture by Neo Rauch. The exhibition has been curated by the art historian Werner Spies. The show runs through September 18, 2011.

Neo Rauch, born in Leipzig in 1960, is one of the most influential international artists of his generation. Rauch studied at the Leipzig University of Graphics and Book art with Arno Rink, then became an assistant and from 2005 to 2009 professor. Since 2009 he has been honorary professor there.

Neo Rauch. Summer exhibition at Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden. Opening reception, May 27, 2011. Video by Anna Gerasimova.

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Press release:

The grand summer exhibition 2011 at the Museum Frieder Burda is dedicated to Neo Rauch. From 28 May to 18 September 2011, around 40 main works by the artist from Leipzig from the past 20 years will be shown. Many of these works are publicly exhibited for the first time. They reflect the abundance of imagination and topics covered by the artist.

There is a boundless force within the picturesque world of the painter Neo Rauch. His subjects seem like a mixture of realism and surrealism, influenced by pop-art and comics. Inhabited by strange figures, partly eccentrically equipped with costumes and props, great scenarios are created, that touch all your senses. The world is turned into a ridiculous theater that knows no linear timeline. If you look more closely you might even discover a story behind the picture.

The painter from Leipzig was immediately taken with the idea of presenting his works at the museum planned by the architect Richard Meier. On his first visit, Neo Rauch said: “The building convinced me straight away, as architectural and sculptural setting in the existing context. This is not natural because I usually set high benchmarks as to contemporary architecture. Concerning the indoor space concept, I can only say that I couldn’t avoid imagining my pictures there. In my mind, I immediately started placing the pictures inside the building”.

Four significant large format paintings as well as ten drawings by Neo Rauch are part of the collection Frieder Burda. Frieder Burda says: “To me, Neo Rauch is a very important artist, who follows his path with unmistakable paintings. He certainly is one of the most important contemporary painters. When I visited Rauch in his studio in Leipzig with regard to this exhibition, I saw a large almost finished oil painting titled: Die Ausschttung (“disbursement”). I was fascinated by the myth, the mystery, by the colors, by the charisma of this painting“.

Neo Rauch, born in Leipzig in 1960, is one of the most influential international artists of his generation. He studied at the Leipzig University of Graphics and Book art with Arno Rink, then became an assistant and from 2005 to 2009 professor and since 2009 he has been honorary professor there.

His art can be seen in the tradition of old masters. As modern points of reference, the artist himself names Beckmann, Bacon, Beuys, Baselitz and his tutors from Leipzig. In 1997 he first stepped into the public with a large exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig. In 2006, the Art Museum in Wolfsburg dedicated a retrospective to him. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the exhibition ”para“ followed in 2007. Last year, Munich (Pinakothek Museums) as well as Leipzig (Museum of Fine Arts) honored the painter with a large double exhibition named Begleiter (“companions”).

Main works in Baden-Baden

From 1993 on, Neo Rauch developed his own unmistakable style. At that time, color is nearly totally banned from his paintings, figurative depiction is already present, though. As time goes by, color flows into his paintings. The exhibition at the Museum Frieder Burda will show works created between 1992 and 2011.
Works on paper will be shown that seem like paintings, among them Saum (“seam”) and “Hotel“. Main works from the past 20 years will be exhibited, works that led to significant decisions at important crossroads in life, for example the painting in light yellow and dull gray named Mittag (“noon”) from the year 1997. A new color palette manifests itself: faded and dull at first sight, but yet powerful and bright. The subtle play between picture space, perspective and lines as well as the somnambulistic atmosphere is typical of later paintings by Neo Rauch.

In this same year, the masterpiece Der Sucher (“the searcher”) was created. It is part of the exhibition as well. When Rauch’s first paintings became successful, he painted an empty easel and a painter moving away from it, searching the environment with a metal detector. At that very moment a yellow meteorite hits the scene. The painter is in the force field between duty, work, consistency and the carefully cherished flame of inspiration that creates the grand.

A turning point which is seldom shown is the painting Sturmnacht (“gale night”) from the year 2000. With its size of two by three meters it is one of the large scenarios that Rauch skillfully captivates on canvas. Here, strong and deep colors like red, blue, yellow, green and black are dominant. Exceptional situations are at the center of the pictures.

Personal feelings are always involved, though Rauch virtuously transforms them into general statements. For example Das Interview (2006): after his success and the media hipe, Rauch deals with his experiences in a mighty and evocative painting in which red is predominant and the interviewees need to be resuscitated. Both conversation parties apathetically hang in their armchairs. Also Der Rckzug (“the withdrawal”, 2006) shows personal elements, being set in the landscape of potash works that Rauch knows from his childhood.

For the first time, a bronze sculpture by Neo Rauch will be shown in Baden-Baden.

Werner Spies is the curator of the exhibition

The art historian Werner Spies, who was born in Tuebingen in 1937 and has lived in Paris since 1960, is curating the exhibition. Werner Spies: “Where can you find works that present such an amazing variety of topics and such an alarming mixture of human bodies and accessories in a boiling atmosphere? If you bother to enter this world, behind the fantastic encoding you can discover quite some relevance to the present; not only volcanic eruptions, hysterical correlations between things and society, a corroding world drenched in sulfurous twilight, but also children, equipped with explosive belts around their waists , sent out to hunt by fanatic cowards. It is great to finally have an artist again who raises questions and in the end overwhelms with his furious painting technique“.

The loans come from German and European public and private collections, such as the collection Deutsche Bank, the museum of modern Art Leipzig, the Pinakothek of the Moderne in Munich, the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen.

The Hatje Cantz Verlag editorial is publishing a catalog about this exhibition with numerous art historical articles, amongst others by Werner Spies, Eduard Beaucamp, Andreas Platthaus and Durs Gruenbein. The catalog will comprise around 184 pages and include unpublished studio photographs by Timm Rautert.

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