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Neo Rauch

Quiz

2002

Neo Rauch’s painterly vocabulary draws heavily from Surrealism, Socialist Realism, and Pop; he often employs a muted midcentury palette to render overall-clad workmen or industrial machinery reminiscent of the communist advertisements and propaganda of East Germany, where he was born. In Quiz, a trio sits behind a desk in a modernist room whose window gives a view of the Bavarian-style architecture outside. On the floor in front of them, a man holds his head in his hand, frustrated or despondent in an attempt, it seems, to assemble a strange looking contraption whose parts lay scattered about the room. As critic Eleanor Heartney wrote, “Rauch’s disjunctive narrative suggests a culture whose comforting order has been shaken apart by unseen and unfathomable forces and subjected to a new logic whose outlines remain obscure…an apt response to the post-Cold War world.”

Neo Rauch (b. 1960, Leipzig, Germany; lives and works in Leipzig)
Quiz, 2002
Oil on canvas
100 1/4 x 84 1/2 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by The Buddy Taub Foundation, Jill and Dennis Roach, Directors

I see myself like a theatre director, and my involvement can vary hugely in terms of boldness and invasiveness. It can happen that I just sit back and watch as the scenery takes on a life of its own, when suddenly the things mount up in a way I hadn’t intended. Those can be the moments that make this profession special. —Neo Rauch

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