Neo Rauch’s paintings are characterized by a unique combination of realism and surrealist abstraction. In many of his compositions, human figures engaged in manual labor or indeterminable tasks work against backdrops of mundane architecture, industrial settings, or bizarre and often barren landscapes. These figures, though squarely centered in his paintings, often have the appearance of being part of still lifes devoid of a human presence or collaged elements belonging to different time zones. Scale is frequently arbitrary and non-perspectival, which adds to an overall dream-like atmosphere; the spatial relationships construct their own imaginary realm.
Rauch was born in 1960 in Leipzig, where he continues to live and work, and studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst. The artist joined David Zwirner in 2000. Neo Rauch: Heilstätten marked his fifth solo show at the gallery in 2011.
Rauch’s work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions at prominent institutions internationally, most recently in 2011 at the Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany, and the Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria. In 2010, Rauch had his first major museum retrospective at the Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig and the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. A version of this retrospective was recently shown at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, in 2011. Other venues which have presented solo exhibitions include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (both 2007); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (both 2006); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga, Spain (2005); Albertina, Vienna (2004); and the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2002).
The Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch opened in June 2012 in the artist’s hometown of Aschersleben, Germany. The foundation is dedicated to maintaining and preserving Rauch’s entire graphic oeuvre and its first exhibition is currently on view through March 3, 2013.
Major museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; among others.