The German title of this lithographic print translates as “upwards” in English; perhaps the title is a reference to the yellow signpost in the composition, which rests on an easel and points toward the top corner. The signpost is a prominent motif in the artist’s newest body of work. Arrows and directional markers pointing in myriad directions seemingly allude to the disorientation of contemporary life. This sense of disorientation is furthered as the artist figure, who stands on a raised platform above a group of onlookers, wears a shirt that reads “lowly” in English. Behind him is a rounded figure, seemingly in perpetual motion, who dons a hat with arrows pointing in opposite directions.
Neo Rauch's (b. 1960) artworks are characterized by their distinctive combination of figurative imagery and surrealist abstraction. His enigmatic compositions employ an eccentric iconography of human characters, animals and hybrid forms within familiar-looking but imaginary settings. While Rauch begins each work without a preconceived idea of the finished result, there is a unique and recognizable visual coherence to his oeuvre. Paintings often display palettes of strong, complementary colors; recurrent subjects include the seamless integration of organic and non-organic elements as well as references to the creative process, music and manual labor. The artist's treatment of scale is deliberately arbitrary and non-perspectival—it often seems to allude to different time zones or planes of existence.
As with his paintings on canvas, Rauch's works on paper—including paintings, drawings and prints—serve as equal ground for his symbolically laden narratives to play out. Lithographic prints in particular are integral to the artist's practice, constituting a major part of his artistic production since 1993. In 2012, the artist set up Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, a foundation in his hometown of Aschersleben, Germany that is dedicated to the entirety of his graphic work; the institution houses one edition of each print he has produced. As Rudij Bergmann notes, "Rauch's graphic art is part of [his] complete oeuvre . . . like his drawings, his prints are hardly preliminary sketches or imitations of his paintings. Certainly, his graphic art does not arise independently from his paintings, but neither is it created in a dependence that lags behind them."
As Rauch notes, "It's not easy for me to make prints; I find the medium enormously challenging, and I tremble before each and every stone. A three-by-five meter canvas is just a playground for me . . . Compared to lithography stone which never attains the size of a tabletop, the sense of freedom you get in front of a canvas is far greater."
Neo Rauch's artworks are a distinctive combination of figurative imagery and surrealist abstraction. His enigmatic compositions employ an eccentric iconography of human characters, animals and hybrid forms within familiar-looking but imaginary settings. His work often depicts the seamless integration of organic and non-organic elements, with frequent references to the creative process, music and manual labor.
Neo Rauch was born in 1960 in Leipzig, Germany. He studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, Germany.
David Zwirner has represented Rauch’s work since 2000. His 2019 solo exhibition Propaganda, featured at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, marked the artist’s eighth gallery presentation and his first solo presentation in China.
Previous solo exhibitions at David Zwirner in New York include: At the Well (2014); Heilstätten (2011); Neo Rauch (2008); Renegaten (2005); Neo Rauch (2002); and Neo Rauch (2000), which marked his United States debut. In November 2021, David Zwirner New York will present a solo exhibition of new paintings by the artist.
Rauch's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent international institutions. Neo Rauch – Works from 2006 to 2019 was on view at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy in 2019–2020. Neo Rauch: Aus dem Boden was presented in 2019 at the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, and traveled to The Drawing Center in New York City. In 2013, BOZAR – Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium presented a solo show of the artist’s work entitled Neo Rauch: The Obsession of the Demiurge. Selected Works 1993–2012. In 2010, his first major museum survey was co-hosted by the Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig in Germany and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany. A version of this survey was shown at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland in 2011.
Other venues which have presented solo exhibitions include: the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz in Germany (2012); the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, Germany (2011); the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg, Austria (2011); The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (2007); the Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague, Czech Republic (2007); the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal in Quebec, Canada (2006); the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany (2006); the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga in Spain (2005); the Albertina in Vienna, Austria (2004); and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, the Netherlands (2002).
Museum collections that hold works by the artist include: the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, the Netherlands; Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, Germany; the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the Museum der Bildenden Künste Leipzig in Germany; the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany; the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Germany; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City; and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Rauch lives and works in Leipzig, Germany.
This print features a signpost, a prominent motif in the artist’s newest body of work. Arrows and directional markers pointing in myriad directions, seemingly alluding to the disorientation of contemporary life.More
- Edition of 35
- Signed and dated
- Printed by Lithographisches Atelier Leipzig
- Published by Utopia Editions