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Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings
from the Rubell Family Collection

Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA – Feb 17-Jun 3

Christoph Ruckhäberle - Theater

Christoph Ruckhäberle, Theater (2003), oil on canvas [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Feb 1-Jun 3]

The seven artists featured in this exhibition all studied at the Leipzig Art Academy in Germany. The Academy traditionally taught figurative painting rooted in a state-mandated style of social realism until the reunification of Germany in 1989.

Neo Rauch - Demos (Demonstrations)
Neo Rauch, Demos (Demonstrations), (2004), oil on canvas [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Feb 1-Jun 3]

Neo Rauch, the only artist in this show who studied at the East German academy before the fall of the Berlin Wall, was very influential on younger artists, whom he later taught at the academy. Tilo Baumgärtel, Tim Eitel, Martin Kobe, Christoph Ruckhäberle, David Schnell and Matthias Weischer, who studied in the 1990s, reformulated and redefined the resonating pedagogy of realism and figurative painting.

This group of New Leipzig painters share technical and thematic interests, although they are easily distinguished by stylistic and conceptual differences.

In Neo Rauch's scenes, moody characters inhabit obscure industrial locations and suggest an ongoing narrative. With a somber tone, his compositions and chromatic choices are dreamlike and retro. Tim Eitel's pieces also have imagined settings. Juxtaposed with familiar people, Eitel's pieces reveal a stark austerity with their abstract perception of spatial depth. Martin Kobe's work abstracts space, through layers of structured form and painterly planes that depict elaborate architectural elements.

The post-Cold War paintings in this exhibition reflect the turbulence of a rapidly changing society that did not necessarily adopt common artistic trends from the west. The seven artists have unavoidable roots in a provincial ideology bridged by visual elements such as an ambiguous sense of place, surreal architecture and feelings of isolation or indifference.

Allyn Cantor

David Schnell - Bretter (Planks)

David Schnell, Bretter (Planks) (2005), oil on canvas [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Feb 1-Jun 3]

Neo Rauch - Das Neue (The New)

Neo Rauch, Das Neue (The New) (2003), oil on canvas [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Feb 1-Jun 3]

 Wed, Feb 7, 2007