The Graphics Foundation Neo Rauch presents the 9th exhibition from June 2020 until May 2021. The solo show NEO RAUCH DAS FORTWÄHRENDE focuses on early works on paper made between 1989 until 1995.Neo Rauch has created an extraordinary diverse oeuvre on paper as his preferred medium in this period to forming an individual imagery in drawing, painting and printing art.
This exhibition is supported by the NORD/LB Kulturstiftung.
In loose sequence, the Graphics Foundation Neo Rauch provides an insight into a selection of works on view in the current exhibition NEO RAUCH DAS FORTWÄHRENDE Works on Paper 1989 ─ 1995:
„BOTE“ (approx. messenger/envoy) is one of Neo Rauch’s early works – a small, monochrome ink lithograph, edition of 125, from 1993. The artwork was printed by the graphics artist Rosa Loy with a Karl-Krause hand-lever-press at the printing studio of the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig. It was a commission for the first annual edition of the friends’ association at the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig (GfZK).
The messenger being synonymous with a deliverer looms in the image’s upper area. His intentions’ are unknown, though: Is he supposed to execute an order or might the figure seemingly armed with some kind of lance be in search of his own self and identity?
The unknown conveyed through the scenery also remains when the viewer’s gaze meets a rocky object in the upper right. The black color appears to calm the atmosphere and takes the image’s dramatic effect.
The horizontal lines provide some additional structure within the portrait format. For the viewer, this arrangement thusly may increase the importance of particular elements. The center shows an enlarged detail – this apparently organic element becomes a focal point of interest. While it may be perceived to be in some kind of embryonic state, the essence of this matter is its vulnerability as the lances pierce the organic tissue. The image border showing a lightly transparent, silky printing paper intensifies this impression.
At last, one may take a look on the image’s typography depicted at the lower part in order to put a visual language deciphered by the viewer into words.
„Die Welt ist eine Walze“ (“The world is a roller”), 1991, puts the viewer in a very active image space, which constantly brings new elements to our consciousness – depending on perspective and time spent in front of the picture. It counts to the few works of the current exhibition that is made on canvas. On the one hand the opaque dominated artwork shows pastose parts and rough brushstrokes, on the other hand we have fine details and feathery handwriting.
Organic elements – could be plants, seeds, leaves – meet inorganic elements – a cubic frame, a cross, round elements on the left. Neo Rauch names this period semi-abstract, wherein organic, human, bodily forms are on the rise. The approximate centre of the image presents the human being. Slightly on the left, a person sits on the roller, at hand or a similar object. To the right, there appears to be someone in a horizontal position – pulling the roller.
The viewer may perceive the sky and ground as constants, a forest landscape can be seen in the background. Single elements are interleaved, few seem to be in kind of a transition or dissolution – the only thing we can be sure of: constant movement. Like a roller, like lifecycles and also like our world. In the last one, orientation is not always that easy. The viewer may take reference to the time after the Fall of the Wall. At this time Neo Rauch shared a studio space with two of his colleagues in Leipzig.
„In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. “
This first sentence leads the reader to the world of one of the most well-known world literature ‘Divine Comedy’. In this work, the author Dante Alighieri (*1265 in Florence; † 1321 Ravenna) takes on the position of a first-person narrator and travels through hell (Inferno), purgatory (Purgatorio), and paradise (Paradiso) meeting almost 900 historical characters on his journey. During his involuntary exile, Alighieri created this 14.233 lines comprising opus in North Tuscany between 1307 and 1320. To this day, his powerfully eloquent and poetic literature fascinates writers and artists worldwide.
After the Fall of the Wall in 1989, many artists as Neo Rauch traveled to Italy. The painting ‘Zu Dante’ (1992) refers to the ‘Divine Comedy’ and is currently on view in the exhibition NEO RAUCH DAS FORTWÄHRENDE Works on Paper 1989 ̶ 1995. During the press conference of the exhibition opening in Aschersleben, Neo Rauch noted that he is especially interested in the subject of arts’ sustainment and perpetual fascinations for humanity.
On the occasion of Dante Alighieri’s 700th anniversary of the death, the Italian Government declared the year of 2021 as ‘Year of Dante’. Worldwide, numerous exhibitions, seminars and roads take place to commemorating the Florentine writer.
credits: Neo Rauch, Die Panzer, 1992, 74,5 × 99,5 cm, oil on wood glue on paper, photo: Uwe Walter, Berlin; courtesy Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig / Berlin David Zwirner, New York / London / Hong Kong / Paris; © Neo Rauch, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020.