Saturday, June 02, 2007

Art Comments Exhibition Review

Neo Rauch at the Met: para


written by don porcella in new york


Neo Rauch, whose name in German means new smoke has created a visual language that lives up, in part to his apt moniker. His new paintings on view at the MET, are the third in the Met’s series of youngish mid-career artists. Rauch’s name, as I am told by local New York art critic Jonathan T.D. Neil, also is the term one would use in german to bum a cigarette from a stranger. I only wish I could bum one of Mr. Rauch’s paintings from him. Yo, Rauch. Can I have a Rauch?

Neo Rauch, Die Fuge [The Fugue/The Gap], 2007

Oil on canvas, 118 1/8 x 165 3/8 in. (300 x 420 cm)

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin & David Zwirner, New York

© 2007 Neo Rauch / Artists Rights Society (ARS),
New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Photo: Uwe Walter

Neo Rauch created the paintings for this show that he calls para. Para relates to the word root that shows up in words like paranormal, paranoid, etc… and his paintings certainly live up to this open ended word, para, as a title for his show.




Neo Rauch, Warten auf die Barbaren [Waiting for the Barbarians], 2007

Oil on canvas, 59 1/8 x 157in. (150 x 400 cm)

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin & David Zwirner, New York

© 2007 Neo Rauch / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Photo: Uwe Walter


Being an artist I am very critical and I only get excited by a few shows and artists a year. I think it is Rauch’s ability to surprise, his painterly approach, the inclusion of mistakes, his open ended narratives and his social realism surrealist style that appeals to me. I don’t believe in rules in art but Rauch does deliver on what I consider key aspects that make a piece of art interesting.


Neo Rauch, DerNaechsteZug [The Next Move/The Next Draw], 2007

Oil on canvas, 59 1/8 x 78 (150 x 200 cm)

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin & David Zwirner, New York

© 2007 Neo Rauch / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Photo: Uwe Walter


His works are never the same size and he plays with scale in the depiction of characters or figures in his work challenging the viewer and their relation to the painting. Although, one might think his work comes from a different time period, on closer inspection his work unravels into an open ended free for all where chaos, confusion and melancholy rein supreme.



Neo Rauch, Die Flamme [The Flame], 2007

Oil on canvas, 63 x 43in. (160 x 110 cm)

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin & David Zwirner, New York

© 2007 Neo Rauch / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Photo: Uwe Walter




Despite the many levels of Rauch’s paintings that draw me in, I find his overall tone to be a downer. His palette and style beguile a lost era that is rooted in depression, loss, and heartache. I find his paintings heavy and sometimes hard to bear when empathizing with the work. However, it is extremely difficult to create paintings that do what his do. He is a painter’s painter. He guides us all on a path that is all his own and yet his open-ended narratives don’t pin you in. It gives the viewer an opportunity to make sense of it for themselves and in that way he has allowed us to be an active part of the art.



Neo Rauch, Vater [Father], 2007

Oil on canvas, 78 X 59 in. (200 x 150 cm)

Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin & David Zwirner, New York

© 2007 Neo Rauch / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Photo: Uwe Walter



Neo Rauch at the Met: para

May 22 thru October 14, 2007

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

New York, New York 10028-0198

No comments: