Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden/From the Floor is the first exhibition specially focusing on the artist’s works on paper in the United States. Opening 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, where the exhibition will travel in April 2019.
Aus dem Boden/From the Floor includes some 180 large and small-scale works on paper, a 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 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 works on paper 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."
Cover Image: Neo Rauch, Der Stammbaum, 2017 (detail) © Neo Rauch / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy the artist.