Introduction to Story Assignment 2 Part 2

Neo Rauch, Schmerz, 2004


“Schmerz” is an oil on canvas painting created in 2004 by Neo Rauch (“Schmerz – Neo Rauch – The Athenaeum”). Rauch quickly became one of the key painters in figurative German art, with most of his work fitting into the contemporary arts movement, though a lot of his works have suggestions of surrealist style (“A Conversation with Neo Rauch | Ocula”).

“Schmerz” has a triangular composition and is composed of various subjects preforming various tasks. In the foreground a general with a drawn sword leans over a woman crouched on the ground appearing to tend to a vase resting on a wood base with a curling entity emerging from the top. In the background, there are more woman walking toward a group of soldiers who are walking in their direction. Fading into the distance behind this is a line of houses and greenery you would typically see in a quiet village or in the country side. The combination of these figures creates a nearly dreamlike feel to the piece. Overall the colours in “Schmerz” are quite dull with bright yellows and reds used on and around the woman to draw the attention of the viewer in that direction. In my opinion the use of the yellow for the woman and the blue for the men in uniform helps to create the distinction between an idea that is ridged and regulated and people who are supposedly ‘free’. Rauch typically is known for using strong contemporary colours throughout his works. (“Neo Rauch Biography”). The scale of the work is one that is played with freely. Rauch makes things much bigger or smaller than they would be and places these items in places where they do not quite work with a conventional scale. This method adds to the surrealist abstraction element of his work. This work, along with many others of Rauch’s work plays with the idea of narrative. (“Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery, London — Interview”). Looking at this work the viewer has the impression of a clear narrative. However, on further inspection the painting is composed of many familiar images in a jumbled and non-distinctive manner, that create nearly a collaged and perhaps surrealist style of art. Rauch’s work is mainly considered to be heavily in the style of East Germany art with small inputs of Western style. This is mainly because of the similarities between his work and the socialist realism work that was previously the only approved style in that area of Germany. (“Paintings for Now”)

I chose this work to study because it is not a piece of art that appeals to me. I admire the skill with which Rauch handles his medium, and it was not something I was particularly aware of until I started to study the piece. His paint handling in many of his works holds a lot of skill and is very impressive. However, I find the colours in the piece a strange mix between dull and garish and the collaged effect of all the different images creates more of a jumble to me than a refined figurative art piece. After researching this piece, I understand why Rauch is one of the biggest figurative painters in Germany. In my opinion it is an art piece that is not to my taste. I feel as though the emotions “Schmerz” delivers are sad and angry and dull and I often find art that conveys those emotions unappealing. I also feel as though the objects in the image do not mix and where never intended to be put together, while I can see why this would appeal to people as a style, for me it conveys more of a misplaced sense and one that is not meant to be there.

Overall I find “Schmerz” to be something that I as a viewer do not quite understand and is a piece of art that does not appeal to me in many ways. However, I do also acknowledge the style where he gets his influence from and think Rauch uses an interesting mix of realism and abstract surrealism to create his works.


“A Conversation with Neo Rauch | Ocula.” N.p., 14 May 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.

“BOMB Magazine — Neo Rauch by Sabine Russ.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

“Neo Rauch | Contemporary Art | Hatje Cantz.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

“Neo Rauch – Magazine – Art in America.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

“Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Gallery, London — Interview.” Financial Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

“Neo Rauch Biography.” David Zwirner. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

“Paintings for Now.” The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

Piepenbring, Dan. “The Paris Review.” “At the Well”: Four Paintings by Neo Rauch. N.p., 11 June 2014. Web. 20 May 2017.

“Schmerz – Neo Rauch – The Athenaeum.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

“This New Documentary Gets Inside the Mind of Neo Rauch.” artnet News. N.p., 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 20 May 2017.


Introduction to Story Assignment 2 Part 1

Anish Kapoor, Marsyas, 2002.


Marsyas was installed in the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern, it is 150 m long and ten stories high. The huge sculpture is made from a steel framework which has then had a single piece of dark red PVC membrane stretched over the steel (Marsyas: An Extraordinary Sculpture). Marsyas occupies nearly the entire hall, with the scale being a nearly overwhelming factor of the work. Constructed in the hall, Kapoor intentionally used every bit of length he could obtain from the room to create a piece that challenged the space. The sculpture has a tunnel like structure that fills the entire Turbine hall, with three circle ends forming a straight tunnel ending at each side of the hall and the third opening pointing down at the viewers’ heads as they cross a bridge in the centre of the room. The scale of Marsyas is so vast that it is intended for the viewer to only view in pieces as you cannot see the entire structure at once.

Marsyas was produced in 2002 and fits into the Neo-Expressionist movement of sculpture which started in the late 1970’s. The title ‘Marsyas’ refers to the satyr in Greek mythology who was flayed alive by Apollo. Specifically, Kapoor is referring to the painting ‘Punishment of Marsyas’ by Titian, painted during the Renaissance period and considered one of the greatest pieces in the Western Canon (Marsyas) (Tate). This reference and inspiration shows itself through the dark red colour of the PVC material which has been compared to flayed skin by critics and Kapoor. Kapoor does not usually examine or produce work that studies the human form, however with this work taking inspiration and context from the flaying of Marsyas, Kapoor does examine the human body. Kapoor wanted to take human scale and a relationship to the viewer into the highest consideration and has aimed to create something that turns the body into something else, something unknown. Kapoor commented that he wanted to ‘Make body into sky’ (Tate). He has done this by creating an organic shape and form that resembles something anatomical with one field of colour that aids the viewer to make connections in their mind while creating an overwhelming experience as one struggles to grasp the scale of the work. The Turbine Hall itself has influenced how the work was created and formed as Kapoor created the work to be a site-specific piece, a similarity that a lot of his works share. The work purposely uses every available piece of space the hall provides to create an overwhelming and engaging experience to the viewer.

I chose this work as a piece because I felt that it was overwhelming and purposely unnerved me when viewing it. I found the sheer scale of Kapoor’s sculpture compelling and it fascinated me that the entire space was purposely used so to view the work piece by piece. I think that this piece, with its endless, taught fabric of one engaging colour hits the senses with a very confronting manner. Marsyas creates a mystery of never quite knowing the entire story of the piece, or where it goes. I found the comparison to a flayed body a very realistic one, with Marsyas looking as though a huge body is stretched through the sky above your head. Kapoor often deals with questions such as the influence of colour, human interaction and the idea that objects themselves convey their own language. In my opinion these ideas and questions appear to have had and influence on Marsyas and how the process has been undertaken. I think Kapoor has used the space in an unusual way, which allows for a unique and different viewing experience of an object that you would otherwise never see. I feel as though it leaves the viewer questioning and that its context renders very clearly what the object is stating.


Marsyas Process:


Kapoor, Anish, Marco Livingstone, and Lisson Gallery. Anish Kapoor. Kyoto, Japan: Kyoto Shoin, 1990. Print. Art Random ; 28.

Kapoor, Anish, Gianni. Mercurio, Demetrio. Paparoni, Fabbrica Del Vapore, and Rotonda Di via Besana. Anish Kapoor : Dirty Corner. Milano: Skira, 2011. Print.

Kapoor, Anish, Michael Bracewell, Andrew Renton, Southbank Centre, and Hayward Touring. Anish Kapoor : Flashback. London : New York: Hayward : Southbank Centre ; Distributed in North America by D.A. P., 2011. Print.

Furlong, William, and Mel. Gooding. Speaking of Art : Four Decades of Art in Conversation. London: Phaidon, 2010. Print.

Harper, Glenn, and Twylene. Moyer. A Sculpture Reader : Contemporary Sculpture since 1980. Hamilton : Seattle: ISC ; U of Washington, 2006. Print.

Harper, Glenn, and Twylene. Moyer. Conversations on Sculpture. Hamilton, N. J. : Seattle, Wash.: Isc ; U of Washington [distributor], 2007. Print. Perspectives on Contemporary Sculpture ; 2. Bk.

Tate. “The Unilever Series: Anish Kapoor: Marsyas.” Tate. Accessed May 2, 2017.

“Marsyas.” Accessed May 10, 2017.

Illuminations Media. theEYE – Anish Kapoor – Marsyas. Accessed May 2, 2017.

“Marsyas: An Extraordinary Sculpture.” Serge Ferrari, June 21, 2013.

“formpig_ARUP Marsyas_kapoor.pdf.” Accessed May 10, 2017.

Image References:

“Deutsche Bank – ArtMag – 51 – Feature – The Anti-Architect – Anish Kapoor at the RIBA in London.” Accessed May 10, 2017.
Tate. “The Unilever Series: Anish Kapoor: Marsyas.” Tate. Accessed May 2, 2017.
“Marsyas.” Accessed May 10, 2017.
“403 Forbidden.” Pinterest. Accessed May 10, 2017.