Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings" Exhibition at Frye Art Museum : Feb 17 - Jun 3


Link to Frye Art Museum Site

Show currently at The Frye of post socialist-realism based figurative painters from the Leipzig school including the work of Rauch, Schnell and others titled "Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings". The *one* westside gallery stop for this touring exhibition of works. Really well put-together exhibition with many excellent works in the collection. Easily my favorite show I've seen in a long while. I'll likely be going to view it again at some point. Here til' June. Don't miss it.

From the Frye Museum:

"Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection presents, for the first time in the Northwest, paintings and drawings by prominent artists associated with the venerable Leipzig Art Academy: Neo Rauch, Tilo Baumg..rtel, Tim Eitel, Martin Kobe, Christoph Ruckh..berle, David Schnell, and Matthias Weischer.

In the 1980s and '90s, young artists eager to draw from nude models, master the rules of perspective, and analyze formal composition were attracted to the Leipzig Art Academy in Germany. Although the rise of abstraction had eroded the tradition of figurative art in post-war America and Western Europe, in parts of Europe cut off from the West by the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, figurative art as it had been taught for centuries flourished.

Founded in 1764 and one of the oldest art schools in Germany, the Leipzig Academy is highly regarded for its tradition of figure painting, which, before the reunification of Germany in 1989 and 1990, was bound to state-mandated Socialist realism. The school's required focus on figure painting foreclosed experimentation with subject matter or form, but left technique free to develop. Its rigorous two-year foundation course, focused primarily on portrait and nude studies, produced some of East Germany's most highly regarded figure painters.

Six of the artists included in Life After Death were students at the Academy in the decade after the 1989 collapse of the Berlin Wall; the seventh, Neo Rauch, studied at the school in the 1980s and taught there in the 1990s, working closely with these students. Following graduation from the school, the younger artists formed Galerie LIGA (the League Gallery) in Leipzig.

The New Leipzig School painters share stylistic and thematic concerns, shaped by both the school's traditions and by East German Socialist realism. The Academy prioritized classical techniques of painting, resulting in the artists' use of graphite scaling grids, forced perspective, careful attention to color, and an emphasis on the figure. Their artwork—characterized by enigmatic narratives, surrealist overtones, and a general feeling of world-weariness—breathes new life into realist figure painting. The works are incredibly diverse, from Rauch's dreamscapes to Kobe's elaborate architecture to Weischer's empty rooms. Yet they all contribute to a contemporary reflection on the East German political situation, depicting places and people not necessarily prepared to integrate into the brand-new optimistic West."