Kevin A. Rausch, born in Wolfsberg, Carinthia, in 1980, today living in Vienna, is an exposed representative of the young Austrian generation of artists. In his works, Kevin A. Rausch deals with current political topics, shifting and social moods. His worlds of motifs that are associated with the landscape genre change between apocalypse and utopia, reality, fiction and vision.
His painting and paper works that he mostly implements in mixing technique integrate classical composition techniques of the fine arts, but they also pick up forms of the vocabulary of the trivial art, for example those of the comics, but also Kevin. A. Rausch’s radical picture language of the underground and the street, e.g. graffiti or wall scribbling. In the figural presentations, being on the move is often brought up. Against the background of landscapes appearing archaically, inhospitably or apocalyptically, Kevin A. Rausch arranges individual (mostly young) people, couples and groups of characters. Often, the figurations seem curiously strange, unprotected or isolated referring to themselves. Comfort or safety seldom suggest the cliffy terrain that seems homeless as well as the inhospitable area into which Kevin A. Rausch places his figures.
An example of such subjects of the artist is the triptych “Silence is Closer”, created in 2013. With this picture, Kevin A. Rausch opens a dramatic room to the viewer. An individual person, apparently a young woman, can be seen with her back showing towards the viewer. She is standing on the mountainside. The view includes a fascinating, but also chaotic world without order and landmarks. Here the topic of the journey of life is suggested. Man exclusively depends on his own. He enters into a dangerous world in which he has to find his own way. It promises happiness to him, but it can also let him fail or lead him into the catastrophe.
Kevin A. Rausch does not narrate. He is hinting. And he highlights situations in a short and atmospheric way. His pictures settled between skepticism and optimism are an expression of a state of the world and consciousness. Kevin A. Rausch’s figures are a riddle to themselves. They are on the move and in search of themselves. Especially the motifs placed in the Twilight situations or also the night scenes of the artist appear like painted psychographs of a disproportion in the relation between man and habitat. An example is the picture “Phoenix In The Sky”, created in 2012. It shows a person who is walking along the nocturnal street towards an unknown place. The street seems perilous and the area is scary. This man who is bravely walking through this nightly and scary area is wearing a hoody. He seems to be young. In his hand he is holding a bunch of flowers. The street seems to be endless. It remains open if he will ever reach his aim. Nocturnal birds accompany the lonely wanderer. Like in a nightmare, they come crashing down on him to attack him aggressively. Like here – as a picture-determining cipher and as a symbol – the symbol of the insecure street or of the perilous road can often be found in Kevin A. Rausch’s paintings and paper works. The reality communicated through this motif is often radical, frightening and threatening, but never desperate or without hope.
In Kevin A. Rausch’s pictures the landscape is often a metaphor for home. This is why the picture “Painter In A Starry Night” of 2013 holds a special place in the artist’s oeuvre, because here the topic “home” paradoxically changes and advances to the topos. A mountainous landscape is shown. The elements are unchained.
Cosmos and the world seem in turmoil. Perspectives are being dissolved. Clouds are agglomerating in the sky. Lighting is flashing through the night, an apocalyptic scenery of chaos is growing. The wild brush strokes and the abrupt traces of squeegee underline the aggressively moved character of the composition.
With artful allusions to the old masters of the art, Kevin A. Rausch interprets the topic “wilderness” in a completely new way. In Kevin A. Rausch’s work the topic of wilderness is a synonym and embodiment of the inconstancy of today’s existence. Like before him Hieronymus Bosch, Goya, El Greco, Max Ernst, Ludwig Meidner or Oskar Kokoschka up to contemporary artists like Neo Rauch, artists have referred to the topic of wilderness mostly in epochs shaken by crises and social shifting. Also to them, wilderness was a metaphor for uncertainty and endangerment of man in times of conflict and crises.
In his oeuvre, Kevin A. Rausch also quotes the peaceful idyll and the Arcadian nature which promises happiness. Mainly in pictures with bright, open and wide landscapes with situations lost in a dream, e.g. “Easy Love” of 2012. In them the landscape is untouched. Here it becomes a dream landscape and haven of peace, happiness and love. But the topos of the idyll or nature is radically discarded by the artist again and again, only to distance himself from it and to demask the Arcadian natural scenery as a fiction and cliché.
Kevin A. Rausch’s work has nothing to do with the classical natural scenery. There is not a bit of the original natural state of the world or the idea of a world that was in divine order, as it was propagandized by the painters of Romanticism. In Rausch’s pictures the world is without superstructure. It is a sensitive inscrutable place, a wilderness in which the individual has to struggle to find his way. Disturbances and deep concerns dominate the social relations. Kevin A. Rausch’s art is highly topical. A prevailing mood has found its way into his pictures. The feeling to be victim of the relations has entered these pictures.
André Lindhorst, Berlin 2015
Assistant, co-curator at KÖPPE CONTEMPORARY