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Neo Rauch: PROPAGANDA

By (artist) Neo Rauch / Text by Daniel Kehlmann

One of the most influential figurative painters of his generation, Neo Rauch presents bold, new work in PROPAGANDA.

Rauch is widely celebrated for his captivating compositions that bring together figurative painting and surrealism into an entirely new kind of visual encounter. They often hint at broader narratives and histories—seemingly reconnecting with artistic traditions of realism—but they remain dreamlike and impossible to reduce to a single story. Though his art is highly refined and executed with great technical skill, Rauch himself stresses the intuitive, deeply personal nature of how he works. As the artist notes, “My process is far less a reflection than it is drawing from the sediments of my past, which occurs in an almost trance-like state.”

Eight large-scale canvases and seven smaller, more intimately scaled works continue the artist’s exploration of figuration and the ambiguous nature of meaning in visual art. In some of the larger works, the saturation of the canvas with characters, objects, and, forms, all rendered at different scales and in conflicting arrangements, creates a collage-like quality—a figurative scrapbook of Rauch’s personal iconography. 

The publication features a short story by acclaimed novelist and playwright Daniel Kehlmann, which was inspired by the paintings in this book. The fantastical text moves between present-day New York and an unknown time of enchanted forests, knights, and witches, exploring the many layers found in Rauch’s canvases. Published on the occasion of the artist’s solo exhibition at David Zwirner, Hong Kong in 2019, Neo Rauch: PROPAGANDA is available in both English-only and bilingual English/traditional Chinese editions.

“Neo Rauch continues to be one of the most fascinating and powerful figurative painters working in the world today.”

– Juxtapoz

“In Rauch’s work, colour is applied selectively and with the precision of an eyedropper… The works in Propaganda beg a historical reading, but ambiguous titles and mixed symbolism defy this.”

– Antonia Cundy, Financial Times

“Rauch’s paintings are richly colored, sumptuous compositions that contain a repertoire of characters, settings, objects, and motifs that are at once realistic and familiar while also appearing enigmatic and inscrutable.”

– Dimitris Lempesis, Dream Idea Machine

“With Rauch, what draws you in is often bewilderment.”

– Fionnuala McHugh, South China Morning Post

Rauch’s “technical skills are virtuosic and the paintings are consistently enigmatic. Visually, there is much to see."

– Border Crossings

“Neo Rauch’s canvases are dense panopticons, the figures he paints trapped in their own story, frozen in time among other lost souls condemned to the same fate.”

– Penny Rafferty, Prestige Hong Kong

More books in this series: Spotlight Series