more a part of his dreams


The dreamlike paintings of the German artist Neo Rauch are as mystifying and enigmatic as those of any artist at work today, although his figurative scenes, carnivalesque in their rich, surprising colors and tricky shifts from the real to the fantastic, are also among the likeliest to grab the attention of twelve-year-olds. In pictures marked by a naturalist’s precision about light, decor, and weather conditions, and that might be set in a factory office, on a farm at night, by the side of a cliff, or in many places at once, vaguely somnambulistic men (and rarely more than one or two women) can be seen conferring about a document, say, or playing cards, or trudging about in one heavy-going endeavor or another. They might even be caught up in violent incidents, like upheavals in the earth or street demonstrations with flags set on fire—events that occur in a number of the fourteen pictures in a show the artist is currently having at the Metropolitan Museum of work made this year.

The story line, however, is never fully the point with the forty-seven-year-old Rauch, a native of Leipzig, in the former East Germany, where he still lives.

more from the NYRB here.