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Neo Rauch is worldwide one of the most successful German painters of his generation. His paintings fascinate by their enigmatic realism, the characters seem to have fallen out of time. They appear to be acting in a sleepwalk-like state. What the painter is presenting changes between dream, fantasy and elusive reality, comprehensible and unconventional at the same time. The pictorial narrative is never explicit or clear - but nevertheless it leaves the beholder spellbound.

The film is focusing on Neo Rauch himself: For the first time in years he talks in front of the camera about his approach to art, about his universe of images and about his personal past, deeply affected by the early loss of his parents. Director Nicola Graef shows the artist at work in his studio, observes critical dialogs with his artist wife Rosa Loy and discusses with international collectors, gallery owners and art lovers the phenomenon Neo Rauch. 







Neo Rauch was born on the 18th of April in 1960, he grew up at his grandparents in Aschersleben. From 1981 till 1986 he studied Art under Professor Arno Rink at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, where he continued as a "Meisterschüler" and later as an assistant. From 2005 till 2009 he was Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, from 2009 till 2014 he held an honorary professorship.

Neo Rauch is married to the painter Rosa Loy. They have a grown-up son. Neo Rauch works in Leipzig. He is represented by Gerd Harry Lybke’s Gallery EIGEN + ART in Berlin/Leipzig as well as by David Zwirner Gallery in New York/London.

Award of the Foundation "Bibel und Kultur", Stuttgart, Germany

Kunstpreis Finkenwerder, Hamburg, Germany

Vincent van Gogh Bi-annual Award for Contemporary Art in Europe, Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, The Netherlands

Kunstpreis der Leipziger Volkszeitung, Leipzig, Germany

  • 2016
    • - Rondo, David Zwirner, London, UK
    • - Die Versenkung, Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany
    • - Hanno & Neo Rauch // Vater & Sohn, Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, Aschersleben, Germany

  • 2015
    • - The art concept | Encounter, David-Hansemann-Haus, Düsseldorf, Germany
    • - Im Schlaf der Welt: Neo Rauch auf Bötzow, Bötzow Berlin, Germany
    • - Perlmutt, Neo Rauch & Rosa Loy, Kunstverein Freunde Aktueller Kunst e.V., Zwickau, Germany
    • - Begegnung: Karl Blossfeldt // Neo Rauch, Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, Aschersleben, Germany

  • 2014
    • - At the Well, David Zwirner, New York, USA
    • - Das grafische Werk – Driter Teil, Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, Aschersleben, Germany

  • 2013
    • - Gespenster, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • - Das grafische Werk – Part Two, Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, Aschersleben, Germany

  • 2012
    • - Abwägung / Gravitation, Neo Rauch & Rosa Loy, Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany
    • - Neo Rauch. The Obsession of the Demiurge – Ausgewählte Werke 1993-2012, BOZAR - Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
    • - Das grafische Werk – Part One, Opening oft he exhibition rooms of the Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch, Aschersleben, Germany

  • 2011
    • - Hinter den Gärten, Neo Rauch & Rosa Loy, Museum Essl, Klosterneuburg, Austria
    • - Neo Rauch, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany
    • - Begleiter – The Myth of Realism, Nationalgallery Zacheta, Warsaw, Poland
    • - Heilstätten, David Zwirner, New York, USA

  • 2010
    • - Begleiter, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
    • - Palais Beauharnais, German Embassy Paris, France

  • 2009
    • - Schilfland, Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany
    • - Paintings and Paper Works, Deutsche Botschaft London, UK

  • 2008
    • - David Zwirner, New York, USA

  • 2007
    • - para, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, Germany
    • - Neue Rollen, Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic

  • 2006
    • - Der Zeitraum, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • - Neue Rollen. Bilder 1993 bis heute, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
    • - Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Canada

  • 2005
    • - CAC Malaga. Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain
    • - Renegaten, David Zwirner, New York, USA
    • - Works 1994-2002. The Leipziger Volkszeitung Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts, USA

  • 2004
    • - Arbeiten auf Papier 2003-2004, Albertina, Vienna, Austria

  • 2003
    • - Currents, The Saint Louis Art Museum, USA

  • 2002
    • - Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
    • - Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany
    • - David Zwirner, New York, USA

  • 2001
    • - Neo Rauch. Zeichnungen und Gemälde aus der Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany
    • - Mannheimer Kunstverein, Germany
    • - Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany; International Culture Centre Krakow, Poland; Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst, Germany; The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

  • 2000
    • - Randgebiet, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany; Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland; David Zwirner, New York, USA

  • 1999
    • - Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany

  • 1998
    • - Galerie der Stadt Backnang, Germany

  • 1997
    • - Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig (presentation of the art award of the Leipziger Volkszeitung 1997), Germany
    • - Manöver, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany

  • 1995
    • - Städtisches Museum Aschersleben, Germany
    • - Marineschule, Overbeck-Gesellschaft Lübeck, Germany
    • - Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • - Dresdner Bank, Leipzig, Germany

  • 1994
    • - Projektgalerie, Kunstverein Elsterpark e.V., Leipzig, Germany

  • 1993
    • - Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • - Galerie VOXX, Chemnitz, Germany
    • - Galerie Alvensleben, Munich, Germany
    • - Imkabniett Galerie, Berlin, Germany
    • -
 Dresdner Bank, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

  • 1991
    • - Galerie Schwind, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

  • 1989
    • - Galerie am Thomaskirchhof, Leipzig, Germany

  • 2016
    • - Im Käfig der Freiheit, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
    • - Elective Affinities – German Art Since the Late 1960s, Arsenals Exhibition Hall, Riga Latvia
    • - Storyteller – Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Leipzig, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam
    • - Bittersüße Zeiten – Barock und Gegenwart, Edwin Scharff Museum, Neu-Ulm, Germany

  • 2015
    • - Leipzig 2015. Sammlung Hildebrand, G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig, Germany
    • -
 Les Archives du Rêve, Albertina, Vienna, Austria
    • - Bittersüße Zeiten. Barock und Gegenwart in der Sammlung SØR Rusche Oelde/Berlin, Kunsthaus Stade, Germany

  • 2014
    • - Glanzlichter. Meisterwerke zeitgenössischer Glasmalerei im Naumburger Dom, Naumburger Dom, Naumburg, Germany

    • - 40|10 - 40 Jahre Sammlung 10 Jahre Museum Frieder Burda, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden- Baden, Germany
    • - Kunst und Alchemie – Das Geheimnis der Verwandlung, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast Kulturzentrum Ehrenhof, Düsseldorf, Germany

    • - Andreas Gursky, Neo Rauch, Jeff Wall, Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany
    • - Cool Place. Sammlung Scharpff, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany

  • 2013
    • -
 Die Kunstsammlung der Deutschen Bank in Leipzig, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Germany
    • - Musueo de Arte São Paulo, Brazil

  • 2012
    • - Heute. Malerei, Kunstmuseum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen Magdeburg, Germany
    • -
 Traumwelten – In the Court of the King of Dreams, Kunsthalle HGN, Duderstadt, Germany
    • -
 Juwelen im Rheingold – 10 Years Rheingold Collection, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany
    • - Gegenwartskunst 1945 – heute, Städelmuseum, opening of the extension building for the new presentation of post-1945 art, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
    • - Nightfall, New Tendencies in Figurative Painting, MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen, Hungary
    • - The collection. German art from Kiefer to Henning, Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    • - Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, France
    • - Müde Helden. Ferdinand Hodler, Aleksandr Dejneka, Neo Rauch. Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
    • - Lubok. Grafica contemporanea y libros de artistas de Leipzig, Museo Nacional de la Estampa, Mexico City /Capilla del Arte, Puebla, Mexico
    • - Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection, Fundación Banco Santander, Boadilla (Madrid), Spain
    • - Wasserstandsmeldung – Neupräsentation der Sammlung 20 Jahre Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany

  • 2011
    • - Kompass – Zeichnungen aus dem MoMA New York, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
    • - 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia

    • - The Art of the Enlightement, National Musuem of China, Beijing, China
    • - Artists for Haiti, David Zwirner, New York, USA
    • - Ordinary Madness, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA

  • 2010
    • - Die Bilder tun was mit mir .... Einblicke in die Sammlung Frieder Burda, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany
    • -
 Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • - Luc Tuymans: Blick auf Zentraleuropa, Brugge Centraal, Bruges, Belgium

  • 2009
    • - Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • - Carte Blanche IX: Vor heimischer Kulisse – Kunst in der Sachsen Bank; Sammlung Landesbank Baden-Württemberg; Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany
    • -
 60-40-20, Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Germany
    • - Realismus in Leipzig, Drents Museum, Assen, The Netherlands
    • -
 Blattgold. Zeitgenössische Grafik, Kunstfonds der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden im Sächsischen Staatsministerium der Finanzen, Dresden, Germany

  • 2008
    • - Third Guangzhou Triannial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
    • - Max Ernst. Dream and Revolution, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
    • - Living Landscapes. A Journey through German Art, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
    • - The Leipzig Phenomena, Mucsarnok Kunsthalle Budapest, Hungary
    • - Hommage à Klaus Werner, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, Germany
    • - Collecting Collections, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
    • - New Leipzig School, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, The Netherlands

  • 2007
    • - Size Matters: XXL – Recent Large-Scale Paintings, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, USA
    • - The Present – Acquisition Monique Zajfen, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    • - Visit(e). Werke aus der Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Palast der Schönen Künste, ING-Kulturzentrum am Kunstberg, Brussels, Belgium

  • 2006
    • - Landschaft, Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany
    • -
 Eye on Europe: Prints, Books & Multiples / 1960 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
    • - Tokyo Blossoms. Deutsche Bank Collection Meets Zaha Hadid, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
    • - After Cézanne, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
    • - Back to Figure – Contmeporary Painting, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, Germany
    • - Cold Hearts. Artists from Leipzig, Arario Beijing, China
    • - Essential Painting, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan
    • - Styles und Stile. Contemporary German Painting from the Scharpff Collection, Städtische Kunstgalerie Sofia, Bulgaria
    • - RADAR: Selection from the collection of Vicki and Kent Logan, Denver Art Museum, USA
    • - „Surprise, Surprise“, Institute for Contemporary Arts, London, UK

  • 2005
    • - Portrait, Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany

    • - Generation X. Junge Kunst aus der Sammlung, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
    • - Carnegie International Acquisitions, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA
    • - Gegenwärtig: Geschichtenerzähler, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany

    • - Symbolic Space. The Intersection of Art & Architecture through the Use of Metaphor, Hudson, USA
    • - Valley Center for Contmeporary Art, Peekskill, USA
    • - On Paper III, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA
    • - Contemporary Voices: Works from the UBS Art Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
    • -
 Early Work by Gallery Artists, David Zwirner, New York, USA
    • - Life After Death: New Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection, MASS MoCA, North
 Adams; SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico; Katzen Arts Center Museum, Washington D.C.; Frye Art Museum, Seattle; Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, USA (until 2008)
    • -
 La nouvelle peinture allemande, Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art contemporain de Nîmes, France
- 25 Jahre Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany
    • - Cold Hearts. Artists from Leipzig, Arario Gallery, Chungnam, Korea
    • - From Leipzig, Cleveland Museum of Art, USA
    • - Beautiful Cynicism, Arario Bejing, China

  • 2004
    • - Aus deutscher Sicht, Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Staatliches Puschkin- Museum für bildende Künste, Moscow, Russia
    • - Not Afraid, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA
    • - Treasure Island, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
    • - Northern Light. Leipzig in Miami, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA
    • - Fabulism, Joslyn Art Musuem, Omaha, USA

    • - International, Carnegie Musuem, Pittsburgh, USA

    • - The Joy of My Dream. International Biennale for Contemporary Art, Sevilla, Spain
    • -
 Territorio Livre - 26th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil
    • - Heißkalt. Aktuelle Malerei aus der Sammlung Scharpff, Kunsthalle Hamburg; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany
    • - Disparities & Deformations: Our Grotesque, Site Santa Fe International Biennial, New Mexico, USA
    • - Perspectives @ 25: A Quarter Century of New Art in Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, USA

  • 2003
    • - Sommer bei EIGEN + ART, Galerie EIGEN + ART Berlin, Germany
    • -
 Berlin-Moskau. Moskau-Berlin 1950-2000, Martin Gropius-Bau, Berlin; Staatliche Tretjakow Galerie Moskau, Russia

    • - For the Record: Drawing Contemporary Life, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada
    • - Die Erfindung der Vergangenheit, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
    • - Update #6. Monumente der Melancholie, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany

  • 2002
    • - Sommer bei EIGEN + ART, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Germany
    • -
 Mare Balticum – 1000 Jahre Mythos, Geschichte und Kunst, Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark
    • - Eight Propositions in Contemporary Drawing, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
    • - Cher Peintre, peins-moi/ Lieber Maler, male mir/ Dear Painter, Paint Me, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Kunsthalle Vienna Wien, Austria; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
    • - Pertaining to Painting, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, USA; Austin Museum of Art, USA

  • 2001
    • - Contemporary German Art. The Last thirty Years. Thirty Artists from Germany, Karnataka, India
    • -
 Chitrakala Parishath Art Complex, Bangalore; National Gallery of Modern Art, New Dehli, India
    • - Plateau of Mankind. La Biennale di Venezia, Italy
    • - Squatters, Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal / Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    • - Wirklichkeit in der zeitgenössischen Malerei, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst, Germany

  • 2000
    • - Contemporary Art from Germany, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, India
    • -
 Academy of Art & Culture, Calcutta, India
    • - After the Wall, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
    • - Malkunst. Pittura d’oggi a Berlino, Fondazione Mudima, Milan, Italy
    • - Bildwechsel, Staatliches Museum Zwickau und Kunstsammlung Gera-Orangerie, Germany

  • 1999
    • - The Golden Age, ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK
    • - Malerei, INIT Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
    • - After the Wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

    • - German Open. Gegenwartskunst in Deutschland, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
    • - Children of Berlin, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA

  • 1998
    • - Transmission, Espace des Arts, Chalon-sur-Saône, France
    • - Die Macht des Alters – Strategien der Meisterschaft, Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
    • - Vitale Module, Kunstverein Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany; Städtische Galerie Wroclaw, Poland

  • 1997
    • - Need for Speed, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria
    • - Vitale Module, Kunsthaus Dresden; Städtische Galerie e.o. plauen, Plauen, Germany

  • 1996
    • - Der Blick ins 21ste, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, Germany
    • - Contemporary Art at Deutsche Bank, London, UK

  • 1995
    • - Echoes, Goethe House, New York, USA

  • 1994
    • - 1. Sächsische Kunstausstellung, Dresden, Germany

  • 1993
    • - Obsession, Leipziger Jahresausstellung Leipzig, Germany

    • - Künstler träumen Berlin, Martsall, Berlin, Germany

Design of the windows of Elisabeth-Chapel in the Naumburger Cathedral, Naumburg, Germany

Contribution to the arrangement for the building of the Bundestag „Paul-Löbe-Haus“, Berlin, Germany

Bundessammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst, Bonn, Germany

» Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA

» Pittsburgh Collection Denver Art Museum, Denver, USA

» The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection | Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

» Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, Zürich|Berlin, Germany

» Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany

» Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Germany

» Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany

» Kunstsammlung Deutscher Bundestag, Germany

Kunst in der Sachsen Bank | Sammlung, Germany

» Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany

» Lindenau-Museum Altenburg, Germany

» Ludwig Forum für internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany

» Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Germany

» Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA

» Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Sammlung der Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, Germany

» Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Germany

» Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

» The Rubell Family Collection, USA

» UBS Art Collection, Zürich, Switzerland

» Stedeljik Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands

» Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany

» The Broad, Los Angeles, USA


» Galerie Eigen + Art

» Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch

» Galerie David Zwirner

» Arario Gallery Seoul | Cheonan

» Spinnerei Leipzig

» The Broad, Miami

» G2 Kunsthalle Leipzig

» Kunstverein Freunde aktueller Kunst, Zwickau

» Pinakothek der Moderne, München

» Rosa Loy


Begegnung Karl Blossfeldt & Neo Rauch
Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch & Archiv Ann und Jürgen Wilde (Hg.), Berlin/Leipzig 2015.
ISBN 978-3-944903-21-7 

Ausst.kat. Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Gerd Harry Lybke (Hg.), Leipzig 2013.
ISBN 978-3-941601-84-0

Das grafische Werk 1993 - 2012
Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch (Hg.), Ostfildern 2012.
ISBN 978-7757-3310-6

Neo Rauch, Begleiter
Ausst.kat. Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig/Pinakothek der Moderne, Hans-Werner Schmidt und Bernhart Schwenk (Hg.), München, Ostfildern 2010.
ISBN 978-3-7757-2520-0

Schilfland. Neo Rauch. Works on Paper
Gerd Harry Lybke (Hg.), München 2009.
ISBN 978-3-7913-4369-3

Neo Rauch
Ausst.kat. Museum Frieder Burda, Stiftung Werner Burda, Werner Spies (Hg.), Ostfildern 2011.
ISBN 978-3-7757-2830-0

Neo Rauch. para
Ausst.kat. Metropolitan Museum of Art New York / Max Ernst Museum Brühl, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin (Hg.), Köln 2007.
ISBN 978-3-8321-9009-5

Neo Rauch. Neue Rollen. Bilder 1993-2006
Ausst.kat. Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Holger Broeker (Hg.), Köln 2006.
ISBN 978-3-8221-7732-4 / ISBN 978-3-8221-7742-3

Neo Rauch. Der Zeitraum
Ausst.kat. Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin (Hg.), Köln 2006.
ISBN 978-3-8321-7751-5

Neo Rauch
Ausst.kat. Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht (Hg.), Ostfildern 2002.

Neo Rauch. Arbeiten auf Papier/Works on Paper 2003-2004
Ausst.kat. Albertina Wien, Ostfildern-Ruit 2004.
ISBN 3-7757-1501-0

Neo Rauch
Ausst.kat. Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, Ostfildern-Ruit 2002.

Neo Rauch. Randgebiet
Ausst.kat. Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig/Haus der Kunst München/Kunsthalle Zürich, Klaus Werner (Hg.), Leipzig 2000.




Nicola Graef – managing director, film director

After studying German Languages and Literature, Theater Studies and Philosophy in Munich and Paris, Nicola Graef spent two years in London earning a Master of Arts in Theatre Studies. She also worked freelance for the London studios of ZDF and NDR.

Back in Germany she completed a journalistic training program at the NDR in Hamburg. This was followed by several years as an editor journalist and reporter with NDR television for cultural magazines, the evening program and finally the political satire program “extra drei”. In 2001 she then began working freelance, establishing the film production company Lona•media with Susanne Brand. Simultaneously she opened “Kunstraum plan b”, a forum for exhibitions of contemporary art, which she ran for 5 years. From 2003 until 2006 she presented the 90-minute live talk show “Westart am Sonntag” on WDR television.

Nicola Graef also advises artists, curates exhibitions and works as an author.

Filmography (selection)

  • 2015 KUNST LIEBEN, KUNST HASSEN … (TV four-parter)
  • 2015 KUNST SAMMELN MIT … (TV four-parter)
  • 2014 MEISTERSCHÜLER VON … (TV two-parter)
  • 2008 ICH.IMMENDORFF (Theater)

Neo Rauch’s paintings have always fascinated me. Especially because they touched me in a certain way and I often couldn’t explain why. His characters are mostly averted, preoccupied with themselves, lost in reverie. What kind of world is this? Who are these people? What have they got to do with me? His paintings keep asking me questions and quite often leave me puzzled, but they challenge me: Look at me and tell me what you see. But please look closely, take your time. There is something hidden in these pictures, very quiet. Not from this world and yet right within it. That’s what generally excites me about good contemporary art: to look, to not understand, to look again, to allow the effect to unfold, to look for answers, to think.  

Many years ago I spoke to Judy Lybke, owner of the gallery EIGEN + ART, about the possibility of making a documentary with and about Neo Rauch. He shook his head and told me I didn’t stand a chance. Neo Rauch was avoiding the media, especially camera teams. What a shame, I thought. But his paintings kept following me. So I kept on trying and asking. I always got declined though. Eventually I contemplated whether it would be possible to make a film about Neo Rauch without Neo Rauch. To immerse into his picture worlds with the very people, who conduct him as collectors or who are very familiar with his art, such as his gallerists or lithographers. I was especially intrigued by the question what international collectors from different cultures thought about his art and why they had chosen this kind of paintings. In 2013 I talked about this with Judy Lybke again and found open ears. He said, this would be a good opportunity to get to know his paintings from different perspectives without getting the artist in a situation he is sceptical about. And who would know, maybe one day there would be even the chance of an interview with Neo Rauch himself. That was great news. I talked to the MDR chief editor Katja Wildermuth and she said: “Let’s try this!”  

Still there was another obstacle. I needed Neo Rauchs permission to show his paintings. So I went to one of his openings in Aschersleben. Admittedly I was rather nervous since the gallery had made it clear that it was crucial to find the right moment to approach him. When I incidentally saw him standing alone I introduced myself and gave him a book. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. “My wife is currently reading that.” Not a bad start, I thought. More meetings followed – in his studio and without a camera, often together with his wife Rosa Loy. I always carried a book for him with me. Neo Rauch is a big reader and his passion for the word connected us right from the start.  

At one point we started to film. In his studio. The very thing that had never been planned. We were just there and Neo Rauch let it happen. A token of trust that touched me immensely. To let a camera team into this intimate room – and his studio is such a room for an artist – is something special. To be unobtrusive, nearly like we weren’t even there, was naturally for us from the beginning. That’s how our collaboration developed. Slowly but steadily and always with the focus on the painting. To observe closely and then openly announce what I saw and what I didn’t see was how I often opened our conversations.  

During these nearly three years of making the film we became a tight-knit community – the team, Neo Rauch and Rosa Loy. Neo Rauch had made possible what I’d never expected: I was allowed to be with him in his studio and watch him painting. I could see how a picture was coming into existence. For me these were the best moments of the filming. To witness how a world is created out of nothing.  

I am extremely delighted that Neo Rauch has made this film possible and I’m grateful that Rosa Loy has contributed in convincing him. Last but not least I’d like to thank MDR chief editor Katja Wildermuth for taking the risk and trusting me to somehow eventually managing to get an interview. Now it has turned into so much more. A film about Neo Rauch with Neo Rauch.