Neo Rauch: At the Well
Brothers Grimm and Norman Rosenthal
At the Well, produced to coincide with an exhibition of Neo Rauch’s new works at David Zwirner in New York, brings together both small and large format paintings that expand the artist’s unique iconography of eccentric figures, animals, and hybrids within vaguely familiar but imaginary settings. This oversized catalogue – designed in close collaboration with the artist – is anchored by sixteen stunning plates and numerous 1:1 details that bring to life, and gives viewers intimate access to, these compelling compositions. Themes of rebirth and new beginnings abound: Rauch consistently creates characters who appear to be in the process of transformation, literally on the brink of renaissance. These figures, though squarely centred in his paintings, often have the appearance of being part of still lifes: collaged, anachronistic elements belonging to different time zones and eras offer a contemporary take on the storied tradition of visual and psychological pastiche. In addition, At the Well features an illuminating essay by art historian and curator Sir Norman Rosenthal, who presents a careful reading of Rauch’s new work, including its relationship to fairy tales; the influence of the German Democratic Republic on his development as an artist in the 1980s; and the overarching sense of alienation that is present within his narratives. The book also includes a reprint of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale The Young Giant, specifically chosen by Rosenthal to further expand his analysis.