Max Neumann turns the human figure into an abstract symbol, reducing his compositions to their pure essence. His faceless heads and bodies constitute a leitmotif of the artist’s work, a subject that carries tremendous weight despite their spare detail and placement in a rootless space. He draws from memory – dreamlike fragmented recollections reduced to the outline, shape and shadows of the originals. Neumann has constructed a visual vocabulary born from innumerable sources, including picture magazines, newspapers, and other media. He works primarily with black, but splashes of color sometimes make their appearance into his paintings and drawings, suggesting a deeper meaning. The artist leaves the viewer to fill in the gaps and construct imaginary narratives, as his compositions exist outside of time and space. With their bareness, Neumann’s paintings possess an emotive power that is remarkably real, yet entirely inferred.
Born in 1949 in Saarbruck, Germany, Neumann studied art in Kalsruhe and later at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin. He has been the recipient of many awards including the BDI (Germany Industry Federation), the Villa Romana Award, the Dr. Dietrich Schluz Foundation Award, the Award of the City of Iserlohn, and the Grand Prix de S.A.S. le Prince Rainer III of Monaco. Neumann’s 2012 exhibition at Bruce Silverstein marked his first solo show in New York.
Since the late 1970s the artist has had more than 150 solo exhibitions internationally. Among them are The Museum Folkwang, Essen; Saarlandmuseum Saarbruck; the Centre d’Art Plastiques, Royan; Espace d’Art Contemporain André Malraux, Colmar; Gallery Vidal-Saint Phalle, Paris; Gallery Stefan Röpke, Cologne; Gallery Pascal Polar, Brussels; Mimmo Scognamiglio Arte Contemporanea, Milan; Galería Arnés y Röpke, Madrid; Gallery Georg Nothelfer, Berlin and Satani Gallery, Tokyo.
His works are in numerous public and private collections such as the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; The Museum Folkwag, Essen; Museo de Bellas Artes, Oviedo; Hamburger Kunsthalle; Fondation Maeght, St. Paul de Vence; and the Seibu Museum, Tokyo. Max Neumann lives and works in Berlin.