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  • Provenance

    Galerie EIGEN+ART, Berlin

  • Exhibited

    Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery, For the Record: Drawing Contemporary Life, 28 June-28 September 2003

  • Literature

    For the Record: Drawing Contemporary Life, exh. cat., Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2003

  • Catalogue Essay

    Galvanised by the fraught history of his native Germany, Neo Rauch brings Surrealism and Socialist Realism into electrifying combination. Wald translates as ‘forest.’ A confounding dual otherworld confronts the viewer, aligning folk history, Grimm fairy tales and the visual mythology of Soviet bloc propaganda.

    A circular form divided into two hemispheres, the work is one of fusion and dissonance. On the left hand side, Rauch depicts a quasi-industrial scene. A figure presides over an arcane process seeming to inhabit some ghoulish foundry or grotto. On the right, a Socialist Realist soldier gropes witch-like through the night, flying under arched porticoes amidst a swarm of crystalline butterflies. Rendered in orange and blue tonalities respectively, these opposing sides are uncannily complementary.

    Informing Rauch’s practice is the work of the Italian Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico, whose architectural forms and vertiginous plays on scale found their disconcerting basis in dreams and visions. A similar sensibility pervades the occasionally nightmarish tableaux which Rauch oversees. Here, this stylistic inheritance enters into dialogue with the cultural particularities of the artist’s milieu.

    Born in Leipzig and growing up in the GDR, Rauch would have been keenly aware of polarities – of the gulfs, both cultural and economic, between East and West Germany. Dating from 1993, three years after national reunification, Wald’s composition gestures towards rift and disharmony. Yet even as it does so, it acknowledges the possibility of unity; the cursive text which runs along the bottom of the piece conjoins the two hemispheres as if through subconscious syntax. As Rauch himself warns, ‘It was never true that the clash of the two ideologies or systems defined my work. My imagination and vision have always emerged from the mining shafts of my subconscious, and those run in a vertical, not horizontal direction. I was always more interested in arrangement than in orientation.' (Neo Rauch in conversation with Sabine Russ, Bomb Magazine, 12 December 2014). Covert and knowing, Wald is vision of dark enchantment.

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT WEST COAST COLLECTION

48

Wald

1993
oil on paper, laid on two adjoining panels
diameter 294.6 cm (115 7/8 in.)
Titled 'Bild 2 "Wald"' on the reverse of each panel.

Estimate
£80,000 - 120,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £278,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
[email protected]
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London 29 June 2015 7pm