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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 28, 2011
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The Myth of Realism
April 28, 2011   
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Considered to be one of the finest artists in Germany, Neo Rauch is not very well known in Poland even though his paintings are selling like hot cakes on the Western art market. This is likely to change now that Warsaw’s Zachęta Gallery has mounted an exhibition of Rauch’s work, entitled Neo Rauch Begleiter. The Myth of Realism.

This is the first major exhibition of paintings by Rauch in Poland. At the same time, it is one of the few exhibitions of German art in this country in the past several years.

Rauch is the leading exponent of what is known as the Leipzig school of painting. Visitors to the Zachęta gallery can see almost 30 works that the artist produced between 1993 and the present day. Over the years, Rauch’s creative output evolved from restrained realism in his early, poster-like paintings to flamboyant, expressionist and symbolic forms in more recent pictures.

Rauch is frequently considered a conservative due to his frequent references to German culture, most notably Romanticism, Biedermeier style and late socialist realism. His mostly colorful and figurative paintings are packed with hidden meanings, codes and metaphors that draw generously from European myths.

A critic from Raster magazine wrote in 2001 that “Rauch’s distinctive painting method is extremely effective.” His pictures are half-fantastic images of a world in a state of permanent, but not ultimate, decomposition. The scenery features architectural themes from the 1950s and 1960s mixed with figures performing absurd activities and dressed in something that looks like a cross between outfits worn by workers in East Germany and those sported by American athletes in the 1930s and 1940s. Rauch uses dusty colors to paint worlds affected by an unspecified natural disaster that has left people unable to act logically.

Open through May 15
Zachęta National Art Gallery, 3 Małachowskiego Sq.
Open Tue.-Sun. noon-8 p.m.
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