Neo Rauch

Propaganda

David Zwirner is pleased to present Propaganda, an exhibition of new paintings by German artist Neo Rauch. On view at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, this exhibition marks the artist’s debut solo presentation in China and will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring a short story by Daniel Kehlmann.

Rauch was born in Leipzig in 1960. As a young artist, he began developing his own unique style of figurative painting that was distinct from the then dominant socialist realist aesthetic of his native East Germany and the Neo-expressionist styles that were popular at the time in the West. Today, Rauch is widely celebrated for his visually captivating compositions that bring together the traditions of figurative painting and surrealism into an entirely new kind of aesthetic experience. Propaganda introduces both large- and small-format paintings by the artist. Appearing at once familiar and enigmatic, these works extend Rauch’s exploration of painting through both personal and historical perspectives and further highlight his masterful skill as a colorist. The show marks Rauch’s eighth solo exhibition at David Zwirner, where he has been represented since 2000.

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Image: Installation view, Neo Rauch: Propaganda, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2019

Dates
March 26May 4, 2019
Opening reception
Tuesday, March 26, 5–8 PM
Artist

Documentary
Neo Rauch: Comrades and Companions

Directed by Nicola Graef, Neo Rauch: Comrades and Companions (2016) is a documentary exploring the artist’s life and work. Filmed over three years at Rauch’s studio in Leipzig and at exhibitions in America, Asia and Europe, the film features conversations with the artist and with his wife Rosa Loy, among others, that offer unprecedented insight into his enigmatic practice.

"I am mainly concerned with an image’s power of seduction which should valut over the beholder, capture him completely...to debuach him out of the directness of his daily conventions, to derail him right-angled into the sphere of the indescribable. Painting, after all, is the medium responsible for those things for which we lack words or terms. Meaning is the cage within which the tiger stripes pace up and down." —Neo Rauch

Image: Neo Rauch in his studio, Leipzig, 2016. Photo by Uwe Walter

Published on the occasion of the artist’s solo exhibition at David Zwirner, Hong Kong in 2019, Neo Rauch: Propaganda features a short story by German novelist and playwright Daniel Kehlmann, which was inspired by the paintings in the show. The fantastical text moves between present-day New York and an unknown time of enchanted forests, knights, and witches, exploring the many layers found in Rauch’s canvases. The book is available in both English-only and bilingual English/traditional Chinese editions.

"My process is far less a reflection than it is drawing from the sediments of my past, which occurs in an almost trance-like state…. I’m only in conversation with myself, with my subconscious." —Neo Rauch

Image: Neo Rauch in his studio, Leipzig, 2016. Photo by Uwe Walter

"I feel most free when I’m starting a big canvas and every option is open. This is totally freedom but, on the other hand, it’s also connected with lots of risks and fear. It can go wrong. This is my first thought when I’m starting. It could go wrong, but not this time, perhaps. Probably, I will be able to jump with this painting through the wall. You know? This wall is a very disturbing element in my life, in my studio between me and the painting."  —Neo Rauch

All quotes by Neo Rauch excerpted from an interview with Neo Rauch by Ena Swansea, published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Neo Rauch: Aus demBoden/From the Floor, opening at The Drawing Center, New York, on April 12, 2019.

Image: Neo Rauch in his studio, Leipzig, 2016. Photo by Uwe Walter

Opening at The Drawing Center in New York on April 12, 2019, Neo Rauch: Aus demBoden/From the Floor is the first exhibition in the United States to focus on the artist’s works on paper. First presented at Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, the show has been organized by Des Moines director Jeff Fleming and Brett Littman, former executive director of The Drawing Center in New York.

Aus dem Boden/From the Floor includes some one hundred and eighty large and small-scale works on paper, the majority of which have not been shown before. Like Rauch’s paintings, these works are characterized by a distinctive combination of figurative imagery and surrealist abstraction. His enigmatic compositions feature an eccentric cast of human characters, animals, and hybrids within familiar-looking but imaginary settings in which scale is often arbitrary, seeming to allude to different time zones or planes of existence. While some of the drawings are finished works in their own right, others are sketches that help to reveal the artist’s process or record an idea.

Composed using a mixture of media including paint, pen, and marker, many of Rauch’s drawings contain notes in the margins from meetings with collectors, curators, and friends. For Peter Schjeldahl, who reviewed the artist’s work in Drawing Now: Eight Propositions at MoMA QNS (The Museum of Modern Art, New York) in 2002, Rauch’s works evoke "a double sense of the verb ‘to draw’: to limn and to pull forth"—not only appropriating history and the work of other artists, but bringing them to "fractious life."

 

Image: Neo Rauch, Die Eselpfleger, 2013 (detail)

"Neo Rauch‘s canvases are dense panopticons, the figures he paints trapped in their own story, frozen in time among other lost souls condemned to the same fate. The stories the paintings tell are just as easily interpreted as misinterpreted: twisting roads that lead to haunted houses or burning furnaces, oversized beetles performing for or preying on their human companions, and often a stern-looking woman chastising an exhausted man hiding behind a canvas or hunched over a table with his head in hands.

'They come from my mind, my soul and therefore must be of me, but they are also not me,' their creator says, when we meet at his studio on the top floor of an old cotton mill in Leipzig, Germany. The 58-year-old Leipzig native goes on to describe how the pieces flow out of him, at times summoned through excursions or trips, such as a visit to Crete, and other times bubbling up from his childhood or seemingly thin air.

'I approach the canvas like a white haze. I spend hours, days, weeks meditating into that fog until the images start to surface in front of my eyes,' he says."

Read the full interview in Prestige magazine.

A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Kap, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Kap, 2018
Oil on canvas
118 1/8 x 98 3/8 inches (300 x 250 cm) Framed: 120 1/4 x 100 3/8 inches (305.4 x 255 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Luz, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Luz, 2018
Oil on canvas
118 1/8 x 98 3/8 inches (300 x 250 cm) Framed: 120 1/4 x 100 3/8 inches (305.4 x 255 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Käfer, dated 2017.

Neo Rauch

Käfer, 2017
Oil on canvas
98 3/8 x 118 1/8 inches (250 x 300 cm) Framed: 100 3/8 x 120 1/4 inches (255 x 305.4 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Sperre, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Sperre, 2018
Oil on canvas
98 3/8 x 118 1/8 inches (250 x 300 cm) Framed: 100 3/8 x 120 1/4 x inches (255 x 305.4 cm)
A oainting by Neo Rauch, titled Die Herrin, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Die Herrin, 2018
Oil on canvas
98 3/8 x 118 1/8 inches (250 x 300 cm) Framed: 100 5/8 x 120 1/4 inches (255.6 x 305.4 cm)
A detail from a painting by Neo Rauch, titled Zweifel, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Zweifel, 2018
Oil on canvas
98 3/8 x 118 1/8 inches (250 x 300 cm) Framed: 100 3/8 x 120 1/4 inches (255 x 305.4 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Tara, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Tara, 2018
Oil on canvas
118 1/8 x 98 3/8 inches (300 x 250 cm) Framed: 120 1/4 x 100 3/8 inches (305.4 x 255 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Propaganda, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Propaganda, 2018
98 3/8 x 118 1/8 inches (250 x 300 cm) Framed: 100 3/8 x 120 1/4 inches (255 x 305.4 cm)
Oil on canvas
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Töpferhof, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Töpferhof, 2018
Oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 33 1/2 inches (50 x 85 cm) Framed: 21 1/4 x 34 1/2 inches (54 x 87.6 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Der Aufschneider, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Der Aufschneider, 2018
Oil on canvas
15 3/4 x 19 5/8 inches (40 x 50 cm) Framed: 16 3/4 x 20 1/2 inches (42.5 x 52.1 cm)
A painting by Brauner Bagger, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Brauner Bagger, 2018
Oil on canvas
15 3/4 x 19 5/8 inches (40 x 50 cm) Framed: 16 3/4 x 20 5/8 inches (42.5 x 52.4 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Sog, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Sog, 2018
Oil on canvas
15 3/4 x 19 5/8 inches (40 x 50 cm) Framed: 16 3/4 x 20 5/8 inches (42.5 x 52.4 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Zahler, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Zahler, 2018
Oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 15 3/4 inches (50 x 40 cm) Framed: 20 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches (52.7 x 42.5 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Anfahrt, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Anfahrt, 2018
Oil on canvas
9 7/8 x 11 3/4 inches (25 x 30 cm) Framed: 10 1/2 x 12 3/4 inches (26.7 x 32.4 cm)
A painting by Neo Rauch, titled Der Wächter, dated 2018.

Neo Rauch

Der Wächter, 2018
Oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 15 3/4 inches (50 x 40 cm) Framed: 20 3/4 x 16 3/4 inches (52.7 x 42.5 cm)

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