Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Neo Rauch at Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany

Posted in Beaux Arts, Curiosa & Forteana, Exhibitions / Openings / Signings, Eyecandy, Historia & Memoria by Suzanne on June 7th, 2011 | BBC Wikipedia

Interview by Neo Rauch, oil on canvas, 2006, Museum Frieder Burda, Photo: Uwe Walter © VG Bild-Kunst - click to enlarge

Baden-Baden's Museum Frieder Burda is currently presenting the oeuvre of New Leipzig School's Neo Rauch on the epic scale it deserves with some 36 works from the past two decades on show.

Amongst them, two of my favourites: Interview from 2006 (above) and Die Fuge from 2007 (below).

Interview reminds me a lot of indoor/outdoor scenes from Veiko Õunpuu's brilliant The Temptation of St. Tony (particularly the pitch-black night outside the posh modernist house surrounded by no other light pollution, indeed no other signs of civilisation).

Have the guests had too much to drink, are they hypnotised, the subjects of a ritual, just having their pulses felt or are they dead? Whatever happened, it's an unnerving scene and the fact that the pose on the left is somewhat reminiscent of a pietà doesn't really make things any easier. It seems that Rauch, in an almost anti-Gregory Crewdson manner, uses bolder colours and more obvious intra-pictorial light sources the more obscure and enigmatic the narrative is and one thing is for certain: I would really like that sculpture in the background with the pink eels/penes on it. À propos, this is by far not the only Rauch that shows slightly objectophile tendencies.

If one looks more closely at the title of the piece, 2006 was a time when Rauch's works started to fetch enormous prices at auctions and he was interviewed by every art magazine in this solar system so one could suspect it to be a criticism on the draining nature his sudden stardom, the omnipresence of journalists had on his life as an artist with the two lifeless men representing the two sides of Rauch, the artist (right) and the "public person Rauch" (left).

Die Fuge by Neo Rauch, oil on canvas, 2007, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Photo: Uwe Walter © VG Bild-Kunst - click to enlarge

In Die Fuge, adolescents are floating in an anti-gravitational state while firefighters seem overpowered by a huge crevasse that opened in the earth from which a somewhat symbiotic person with a trunk for a lower body and a chain emerges. A figure sits forlorn and apathetic in a plastic chair his legs rather Goethesque looking. Again, Rauch deliberately adds breaks, indeed huge sinkholes to the visual narrative and linear logic and lets the semiconscious and the archaic reign at will.

To be perfectly honest with you, I think absorbing 36 Rauchs would give me a bit of a brain tumour, but you have until mid-September to see the show so do take your time.

In related news, I agree that it's a great shame Rauch isn't teaching anymore, but I think it's pretty clear that this man needs to paint.

Details below.

On show: May 28 - Sep 18, 2011

Address: Museum Frieder Burda, Lichtentaler Allee 8b, D-76530 Baden-Baden, Germany, tel: +49 (0)7221 / 3 98 98-0 | Map

Admission: 10 €

Gallery hours: Tue - Sun: 10 AM - 6 PM

Press release

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