Neo Rauch, etc.

I’ve been interested for a while in some of the newer painters coming out of Germany. A number of them are making what to me is really striking and complex work.

Neo Rauch:

Peter Angermann

Abel Auer:

Daniel Richter:

Volker Hueller:

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26 Responses to Neo Rauch, etc.

  1. johnk823 says:

    Weel. I find this painting quite interesting myself. There is so much going on in it, yet it is hard to decifer what is actually happening. Are they making boot leg booze, paint or something else all together. Look deep into the tree and branches, are those faces and bodies of a sort? The forward person looks to have a military outfit on of days gone bye almost. The pastel colors against the more natural colors playing a more modern and abstract look. The branch coming out of the cloud as if a tree were engulfed. Then at the left side of the garage door opening you notice something like a mist or fog exiting the opening. The cloth coming up out of the large jug almost has a kind of fish look to it and wraps around and at the bottom appears as the main body part of a large lizard type creature, or is it just a colorful cloth. See, how the mind can wonder and vision many things in this work?

    Even the fence, one may look at it as a fence with the back end of a cow behind it or possibilly it is really the back end of a flatbed truck with a fancy railing with a large black drum on metal legs in the back of the truck and making a delivery to fill up the containers in the boxes on the ground and the large jug hold the ingredents to a new and exciting product.

    The whole scene does have the look of a dairy farm to it, but because of what the artist has incorporated into the painting with the soft pastel colors and objects, tends to throw the mind into a search mood looking deeper into what might be going on throughout the entire painting. It could just be read to be as simple as it is and nothing special other than the pastel colors used for various items, or look at what I have already wondered off on throughout the painting and came up with.

    It’s all in the minds of the artist verses the observer as to what is really going on in the painting. This is really an exciting piece. Great find on this piece.

    • johnk823 says:

      The two smaller paintings are to small to really get into for comments except they definetly each have their own story to tell.

      Augermann’s has a wonderful winter scene happening from a nice view accross a pond, and Auer’s seems to lean toward surrealism and fantasia of a sort. I’ll wait to see if more gets posted on these two before further comments.

      • johnk823 says:

        The art is to hide the art. Peter Angermann is a supreme master of painting, a concentrated skill he has honed gradually over 40 years to express his wicked, impish delight in the folly of mankind, his sheer joy at being alive, and his growing, troubled perception of humanity’s inhumanity. This could lead us to where histhinking is derived from in his works.

      • johnk823 says:

        Auer’s take on landscape painting, a saturated palette brings to life rural and historical settings. These works owe little to traditional modes of representation and ignore the basic laws of perspective. Aspects of contemporary life negotiate the sleepy countryside: bustling highways meander through fantastical forests and Technicolor houses decorate the mountainside. The overall effect resembles the playful world of children’s book illustrations, where botanical and architectural anachronisms co-exist in harmony. Again, we feel a dream of another reality, another world of fantasy, the mind bending it preplexes.

      • johnk823 says:

        As to Daniel Richter here is a link that give some good information on his bio, art work and more.

      • johnk823 says:

        Volker Hueller principles of painting are etchings, collages and objects, with his works sitting at the crossroads of figuration, abstraction and ornament, while the materials are intensely tactile—provoking a sly and seductive play with all our senses. Some of his work get the mind stirred up with imagination and at times can be quite dreary and at other times thought provoking.

    • Steve says:

      This is a refreshing painting, adding new-age elements to an old world scene. Take away the baby-pink & powder-blue objects and there would remain an illustration from the 1700’s. It’s a surreal in-between zone of time and place. It’s as if the artist went back in time and carried contemporary possessions with him in an attempt to keep something from his present life and not be totally cut-off from his present world. I wonder what these two Prussian farm workers are going to think in a few seconds when their reality is suddenly jolted by this alien stuff in the yard.

      • johnk823 says:

        Steve, Yes it does seemthat time travel could be an element incorporated by the artist thoughts. This kind of painting as the others now posted are difficult for me to comment on because I have no idea where the arts themselves are coming from. There does seem to be very many elements incorporated into each piece, but what does it all mean? It is great to play around with thought, but the artists thoughts verses my thoughts can be a millinia apart.

        I oftened wondered where ones mind is coming from when painting in a surrealistic and abstract manner. Part of what my wondering is, is are they expecting the observer to get what they have does, or is it just a play with form and color and texture and you get to decide what is going on in the picture. Then again, one would need to explore many possibilities in these types of art.

  2. trueoutsider says:

    Let’s look at a group of Neo Rauch paintings. What I’m getting at on this post is that European art has come back to life. In the 16 years I lived in NYC there wasn’t a single American painter exhibited in any galleries whose paintings came close to these Rauch paintings in terms of belonging to the great tradition of Western painting. He’s working with complex space, color, imagery and narrative in ways that American painters abandoned. And why did American painters abandon all those elements that made European painting great? Pure hubris. Greenberg, largely, was at the center in the 1950s defining painting as flat and non-narrative. American artists largely followed art critics who wrote in art magazines prescribing what art was. While Greenberg was supplanted, his basic ideas were extended and transformed into pop, minimal, op art, neo-geometric art, photo realism, conceptual, installations, photography, performance.

    What was also thrown out by Greenberg and the American art world was the great work of the American Social Realists. There were political reasons for that which are never discussed.

    American artists could come up with any kind of absurd activity or art work, as long as they stayed away from painting in the Western tradition. Unless of course they were to parody or make “ironical” works. Paintings as joke work or painting as the “sublime”, which primarily meant the decorative. That attitude is still predominant in the art critical world. But work now coming from other countries is beginning to knock American art off center stage. One irony is that Rauch was trained in communist East Germany.

  3. johnk823 says:

    Carnegie International puts it this way:

    Neo Rauch

    Born 1960, Leipzig, Germany
    Lives and works in Leipzig

    Neo Rauch’s curious and curiously beautiful paintings present a world populated by hybrid animals and hypertrophied humans. His harsh, industrial colors and heroic, 1950s-looking workmen and sturdy women, depicted with almost cartoonish realism, are elements Rauch has retained from the Socialist Realist aesthetic of communist East Germany, where he grew up and received his artistic training. However much he has been influenced by the Eastern bloc political posters, public murals, and illustrations of his youth, Rauch’s contemporary take on that earlier style is a dramatic departure. Somberness pervades Rauch’s paintings where the earnest activity of his ideal workers seems directed toward no productive end. Scale and space are out of sync in scenes in which humans interact with beastlike forms in illogical landscapes. Although narratives with a metaphoric aspect, these works are not easily parsed. Ambiguous and sometimes menacing, the stories his paintings tell are retro-futuristic fantasies of a world at once strange and eerily familiar, recognizable not from experience but perhaps from dreams.

    This tends to some up some of his visual mind as to his concepts of the retro-futuristic and fantasies twisting around in his brain. All in a dream!

  4. trueoutsider says:

    Like Rauch, the German Daniel Richter, is also using narrative in the Western painting tradition–complex space, color, drawing. Presumably because he was trained in Hamburg his work doesn’t have the academic prowess of Rauch’s in terms of traditional modeling of form, and derives more clearly from Modernism.

    But, again, what is striking to me is that the work is going completely against all the dictums that American art largely imposed on art making in the US.

    • johnk823 says:

      Daniel Richter’s paintings possesses an almost operatic quality. Borrowing themes from both Christianity and German history, Richter constructs his contemporary scenes with theatrical flair: his figures are staged in a Baroque kind of composition, their outlandish costumes and mask-like faces lend an element of the surreal spectacle. The fervent emotion of a grand drama is carried throughout Richter’s frenetic style of painting: thick brushwork battles with translucent drizzles and impassioned smears; acid tones are electrified against the sombre ground. Reminiscent of Ensor’s nightmarish crowds, Richter infuses scenes with apocalyptic celebration and of those possibilly waiting at deaths door.

  5. trueoutsider says:

    More Peter Angermann:

    • Steve says:

      After looking more thoughtfully at the above painters, I find myself increasingly drawn to Peter Angermann’s work more than the others. His paintings are exciting to me as message and medium. There is something going on in him and in his art that I take with me when I look away. I think it’s crucial to see these pictures as serious social commentary made with love of craft,…and not as cartoons. He makes everything work by working hard on everything, every aspect is resolved in terrific painterly ways. Normally I do not care for political satire or propaganda art, and at first glance the Iraqi war painting would fall into that category ( exploding heads aren’t my favorite theme ), but, he places an American family in the middle of it watching the war unfold on tv, and the viewer ( us ) is the tv! It’s such a perfect connection that I feel compelled to comment on it. This is our voyeristic reality, every night, in the safety of our homes, while people are getting blown to hell and gone in a hot land of sand far away. We eat our dinner, sip our wine, and kill the evening in our living rooms. No, this is no cartoon, nor is it favoring one side or the other,…this is honest objective painting showing what’s really going on.

      • johnk823 says:

        Steve, It’s kind of like reality TV for Angermann. He takes you on a trip around the world in an almost cadence of color and caricatural journey of the reality of events going on in todays life as he sees it through his own views. Maybe he sees life as a joke for some people, but then he shows the reality of what is going on around the world while people just set bye and let it all happen.

        Yes, for many we are the TV, we are the reality shows of their life, and we are the big evil in their world. Yet, when all is said and done, who is usually first there handing out food, money, supplies, help and kindness, doctors, medicine, munitions and the like to help those that need it. Yes, that’s right, us TV people. And for many around the world that are afraid to fight for their right to be a free humanbieng, they are the TV people and we go do the battling for their rights to be free.

        My point would then be that there are two sides to the TV coin. So, as an artist, based on the paintings represented here by Angermann, do you see both sides of the coin or does it lean left or right?

      • trueoutsider says:

        Steve, I find your interpretation very interesting. It’s what makes me so engaged with all these painters, but particularly with Rauch and Angermann. The introduction of complex narrative structures allows for a level of thinking that is largely absent from “formalist” painting that is primarily about painting itself. These artists have decidedly rejected “art for art’s sake” in favor of addressing the world.

        A correction, this from my reading about the Angermann painting, in the Rough Guide book “The Best Art You’ve Never Seen.” The family in the painting is Angermann’s own family and himself. The logo of the television is painted there in the upper left which gives the indication that what we have is the family reflected on top of the imaginary scene he’s painted.

        There’s a kind of absurdist historical reference to Las Meninas.

        I think what you’re saying, other than the fact it’s a German family rather than an American one, is still relevant.

    • johnk823 says:

      See my comments posted above. But, to add to thm I would say Auer must have been well established back in the hippie days, at least I get that kind of feeling from his mystical pralude of colors and fantasy landscapes and people. It’s like a camping journey of color to never never land. A kind of magical mystery tour.

      • Steve says:

        I don’t see the “coin leaning” either right or left, I see it bouncing along the ground and flying through the air, as Angermann so perfectly illustrates in the above coctail waitress / tourist painting. When life gets crazy, left or right don’t matter anymore. Boing-boing, zing-zing,…who knows? Can’t count on anything, …at least that’s the message that I get from his treasure-chest colored jewel scene. It’s not even surreal anymore; it has become blur-real, lines are crossed, boundaries blown away,…so what the hell, might as well blow my last gold sovereign on a cold pina’ colada and a hot sexy waitress.

  6. trueoutsider says:

    More Volker Hueller:

  7. johnk823 says:

    What were they smoking at the time? Got a match?

    • johnk823 says:

      Hueller seems to be after the abstract and surreal of the likes of Bosch and Picasso, but leaves out the vivid colors. Various styles via cubist studies and neo-classical.

  8. trueoutsider says:

    John, it’s what used to be known as being an artist. The alternative is to copy photographs or follow the instructions of some art theorist who describes how to make a painting in three easy steps.

    Smoking can be okay. But it’s the discipline that counts. I’ve been looking through Neo Rauch’s stuff. I don’t think that guy has taken a smoking break given the amount of work he’s done and the scale of his paintings!

    Thanks for adding all that material on these guys. I’m going to check it out when I’ve got a minute.

  9. Steve says:

    Some quick catch-up reading about Rauch led me to this telling title of an exhibition that he organized: ” One has to hurry, if one still wants to see something…” I had to stop and think about this, or rather it made me stop and think. Hurry hurry hurry. Everything is moving so fast. I wonder, do our dreams even move faster now than they did a hundred or a thousand years ago,…or have dreams always moved at warp speed even when mankind was plodding along through the centuries? These paintings aren’t slow-surrealist paintings , like Dali, De Chirico, Magritte, who would paint someone running like they were standing still. These pictures have spiritual speed, like they are made out of social mercury. I think these painters here are trying to paint a world on the fly. It makes sense. Even in my small community I see and feel the rush of thought and feeling like it’s a carnival of consciousness, careening around like crazy. Somebody once questioned Picasso about all the strange objects and things that he put into his pictures, and he said ( paraphrase ): “…I paint what I like , the things will just have to get along.” Dream worlds are full of things and these painters are seeing and gathering their visions with excitement and abandon, and startling skill. And the visions seem to ‘get along’ wonderfully.

  10. johnk823 says:

    As I look at all of these paintings, it seems to me there is also incorporated some computerization into the work, which tend to make me think of all the tools available today for creating such pieces. It also make me think of them as the modern day Bosches of the world, painting and producing the likes of which has never been seen before nor thought of by any other person but them. Through their thoughts and dream world they bring out conceptual fantasy and a surrealistic worp of time, that travels through their minds eye, laying down on canvas, panel or paper their pilgramage of another world, their world! They present dramatic contrasts to what was once called art by the many critics of old, and set outside of every box laid down by the old masters of realism, and have provided us to their own realism of the unrealistic.

    The question then would lead me to ask, does art have to be real and if so, who decides what is real, in art. I can take it a step further and ask, what is? If one can not be allowed to express their thoughts and feelings, whether it be in words, painting, sculpturing, drawing, preforming and any other mood of expression, then we are all doomed by the critics who think they have all the answers for the entire world. It reminds me of when they first came out with ethics. I do believe their is a place in the world for all things, as long as it is done in moderation. To much of anything can’t be all that great for anyone. And so we have millions of artists with millions of thoughts and visions, expressing those things as to how it is to them. This doesn’t mean everyone will see the same vision, but we can, as observers and as artists, try to relate to others visions through meaningful concentration on their works and converse our thoughts of those works to one another with love in our hearts. And if there is critique required, it should be of a kind that is helpful, compassionate and whith the utmost consideration for the artists betterment through understanding.

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