Neo Rauch (B. 1960)
Property from a Distinguished American Collection
Neo Rauch (B. 1960)

Vorort (Suburb)

59 1/8 x 98 1/2 in. (150 x 250 cm.)
Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig
Acquired from the above by the present owner
P. Schjeldahl, "Paintings for Now: Neo Rauch at the Met," The New Yorker, 4 June 2007.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brühl, Max Ernst Museum, Neo Rauch at the Met: para, May 2007-March 2008, pp. 36-37 (illustrated in color).


Figurative realism meets narrative ambiguity in Neo Rauch’s paintings. Here, a cast of characters inhabit a world of allegorical theatre and enact strange rituals in a hauntingly familiar yet fictive community. Vorort, which means ‘Suburb’ in German, features an assembly of men who seem to be creating the fire they put out. The yellow-white flame echoes the color of the house and the streak of sunlight that peeks out from behind the cloud; the red bomb lying on the ground is painted the same burgundy of the men’s pajama pants and blankets. The result is a composition that is cohesive in color, if ambiguous in narrative. So engrossed in their tasks, the men do not seem to notice the explosive. As the curator Klaus Werner asked Rauch when he first came to prominence in 1997: “It is probably pointless to ask: What are the people doing? … Does anything here obey the laws of reason? (K. Werner, “Conversation Between K. Werner and Neo Rauch,” Neo Rauch: Para, New York, 2007, p. 53).

The answer may lie in the way Rauch translates sub- and unconscious motifs into an enchanted visual arena that follows rules to which we are not made witness. Yet for all its absurdness, Vorort feels somehow to make sense, occupying a liminal space between dream and science fiction. Born in East Germany in 1960, Rauch is part of a generation of artists who came of age under the shadow of the Cold War. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a wealth of new visual material flooded in from the capitalist West. Evoking the vivid imagery of 1960s sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books, in combination with Kafkaesque visions, Soviet propaganda and the echoes of Socialist Realism, Rauch’s paintings tell stories that defy easy categorization to dizzying effect. What is clear, however, is the primacy of the act of painting in Rauch’s pictorial alchemy.

Vorort was featured in the artist’s solo exhibition, Para, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007, an honor bestowed upon only the most important contemporary artists. In his review of the exhibition, The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl calls Rauch “a bard of Eastern Europe, rooted in the obsolete future of revolutionary hopes. …In Vorort, men in a street burn flags of indeterminate nationality. A sinister, old-fashioned aerial bomb lies nearby. But a yellowish cast of sunset light combines with the yellow of flames to invest the scene with the dreaminess of a fairyland comedy. The situation is grave, but not serious. Rauch’s work provides a cultural moment that seeks legitimacy in art with talismans of rhapsodic complacency” (P. Schjeldahl, “Paintings for Now,” New Yorker, June 4, 2007, n.p.).

Vorort traffics in recognizable artistic idioms informed by Rauch’s unique perspective on German history. His skill in figuration can be traced to his training at Leipzig’s Art Academy, which emphasized traditional technical skills. The graphic quality of the painting is heightened its reduced color palette; its red is sharply evocative of Communist iconography. The forceful composition and propagandist undertones is muted by Rauch’s merciless syncretic ambiguity. In all this uncertainty, even unease, lies the rich pleasure of his work. His anachronistic and fragmented visual language challenges the ideologies that have preoccupied so much of twentieth century European history, and the impossibility of the utopian societies that they promised. Illustrating Rauch’s nostalgia for the hopes and dreams of the past, his paintings pay tribute to the artist’s youth beyond the Iron Curtain while addressing the fundamental question of what it means to be a painter in contemporary Germany.

更多来自 战后及当代艺术(晚间拍卖)