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
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.
Ausst.kat. Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig, Gerd Harry Lybke (Hg.), Leipzig 2013.
Das grafische Werk 1993 - 2012
Grafikstiftung Neo Rauch (Hg.), Ostfildern 2012.
Neo Rauch, Begleiter
Ausst.kat. Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig/Pinakothek der Moderne, Hans-Werner Schmidt und Bernhart Schwenk (Hg.), München, Ostfildern 2010.
Schilfland. Neo Rauch. Works on Paper
Gerd Harry Lybke (Hg.), München 2009.
Ausst.kat. Museum Frieder Burda, Stiftung Werner Burda, Werner Spies (Hg.), Ostfildern 2011.
Neo Rauch. para
Ausst.kat. Metropolitan Museum of Art New York / Max Ernst Museum Brühl, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin (Hg.), Köln 2007.
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.
Ausst.kat. Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht (Hg.), Ostfildern 2002.
Neo Rauch. Arbeiten auf Papier/Works on Paper 2003-2004
Ausst.kat. Albertina Wien, Ostfildern-Ruit 2004.
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.
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.