Painting from Leipzig has advanced to become an international brand and not only in the art world. This is exemplified in the work of the artist Neo Rauch, born in Leipzig in 1960. For his generation, he represents German art internationally; much in the manner of the generation of Baselitz, Polke and Richter before him.
Neo Rauch's artistic biography is characteristic of the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig
. Like Bernhard Heisig, Werner Tübke, Arno Rink and many others before him, he was student, assistant and professor at this institute. His oeuvre has its roots in the academy's tradition of fable and myth arrangements with a distinct craft accent. Only around ten works leave the studio of Neo Rauch each year. Interest amongst collectors has grown steadily in recent years. 2010 sees the first major retrospective of the artist in the Museum der bildenden Künste of his home city of Leipzig and, at the same time, at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Around 120 the majority large format works from the years 1993 to 2010 bear witness to the eye of an artist who has lent the surrealist tradition an unexpected actuality and perspective with his highly idiosyncratic imagery.
Following reunification and the enormous socio-political upheaval the scenarios were primarily those heralding the transition of the landscape and the dismantling of an artificially-maintained economy; soon after the scenes were populated by researchers, artists and paramilitary-looking service staff, pursuing murkily obscure tasks. Up to the end of the 1990s the work was oriented towards graphic components, after which time painting and a more distinctive palette of colours began to gain the upper hand. Rauch also expanded the range of individuals that populated his images: English gentry, Biedermeier sophisticates and well-equipped activists pass through worlds in which actions and spaces blend into one another. The objective of these almost robotic beings and toy-figure protagonists remains obscure. In close collaboration with the artist, Hans-Werner Schmidt and Bernhart Schwenk have selected 120 pictures, compiling them into groups of works. The formation of "neighbourhoods" enables the progression of the individual scenes from the respectively preceding work to be elaborated.
The genesis of the work thus becomes vivid in the interaction of the exhibitions in Leipzig and Munich. In both galleries the audience will also see pictures acquired by American collectors shortly after their completion and undisplayed in Europe since that time. Neo Rauch Begleiter at the Museum der bildenden Künste and the Pinakothek der Moderne is undoubtedly a duo of exhibitions that will form one of the highlights of the exhibition year 2010.