Neo Rauch was born in 1960, in Leipzig, Germany. His illustrative paintings are characterized by their uncanny imagery and ambiguous handling of forms. In depicting both industrial and natural landscapes, spatial relationships fluctuate wildly, with figures caught in states of transformation and movement. While Rauch himself hesitates to classify his paintings as Surrealist, he acknowledges the influence of dreams and imagination.
Rauch's painted figures- rendered in a contrasting color palette of bright, acidic colors and dark, ominous hues- populate an alternate universe where the environment is unpredictable and anxiety prevails. With a style that evokes the works of Old Masters as well as Surrealist artists, Rauch portrays scenes of labor and activity in which the scale of figures does not always match up nor do the eras their respective clothes suggest. Inspired by the memory of his youth in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the affectless faces of the men, women, and children in Rauch’s off-kilter landscapes depict a Cold War sense of imminent danger.
Rauch won the Vincent Award in 2002, which received a corresponding solo show at the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht, The Netherlands, that same year. In 2010, Rauch had his first museum retrospective, which was jointly held at the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig, Germany, and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany. In 2011, a selection of the works from this retrospective then traveled to the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland. In 2007, the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague held a retrospective entitled "Neue Rollen," organized by the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, of Rauch's works covering 13 years. Other solo exhibitions include the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, Canada (2006); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2006); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Spain (2005); and the Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2004). He had his first solo North American museum exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri in 2003-2004.
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