Neo Rauch (German, b. 1960) creates paintings that teeter between Surrealism and popular imagery, defying easy interpretation. Viewers are drawn into scenes replete with strange beings and ambiguous landscapes. Full of activity yet mysteriously static in feeling, Rauch's paintings are fantasy painted as fact, and many of his large-format works are populated by figures that are connected spatially, yet remain alienated and unaware of each other. With a distinctive palette of bright acidic colors contrasting with deep shadows, the artist's paintings conjure up an atmosphere of confused nostalgia and failed utopias.
The artist is inspired by misplaced memories and momentary perceptions that are lost before they can be named. In this vein, Rauch has titled his exhibition at the Met para. Although there are many familiar elements in the parallel world of Rauch's paintings, the situations depicted are bizarre and the normal is mixed freely with the abnormal.
Born and raised in Leipzig, East Germany, Neo Rauch trained at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in that city. He continues to live and work in Leipzig and has inspired a younger generation of painters in the city's thriving artistic community. Rauch's work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2006); Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Canada (2006); Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2004); Saint Louis Art Museum (2003); and Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany (2001), among other museums.