Neo Expressionism is a form of Postmodernism. It was born in Germany in the early 1980s and quickly spread to other parts of Europe and United States.
‘Neo’ prefix indicates a return of trends and ideas of the past. It refers to the characteristics of the German Expressionist Movement ‘Die Brück’.
In Germany, Neo Expressionism was known as ‘Neue Wilden’ (New Savages) and Junge Wilde (Young wild). In Italy, this art corrent will develop into the Transavanguardia.
In their work the Neo-Expressionists took up a variety of cultural-mythological, nationalist-historical, erotic, and “primitivizing” themes.
Neo Expressionism in Architecture
Neo-expressionist architecture is meant to evoke an emotional, not an intellectual response; it is sculpture-like and theatrical in appearance. This style of architecture never dominated the American architectural scene, but most commonly found in religious and public buildings from the period. Strict geometric shapes are rejected and sculpted forms emerge. Innovation of building materials such as concrete, plastics, and laminates are often incorporated in the design to achieve the artistic forms. Neo-expressionist buildings should be sculptural, evoke emotions, and have an unconventional roof design.
Frank Gehry (born in 1929) Canadian architect. Gehry’s best-known work is the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao(Spain), characterized by a breakdown of the building process in volumetric unit, then reassembled with an apparent lack of logic alone, and from the predilection for the oblique lines and often unusual materials (wire mesh, corrugated iron etc.).
Masters of Neo-Expressionism
- Eero Saarinen (1910 – 1961)Finnish Americanarchitect and industrial designer noted for his neofuturistic style. His most famous work is the TWA Flight Center, which represents the culmination of his previous designs and demonstrate his neo expressionism and the technical marvel in concrete shells.
- Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid (1950 -2016) was an Iraqi-born British architect. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004. She liberated architectural geometry with the creation of highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life. One of her projects is MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts (1998–2010), Rome, Italy.
Image source: http://www.fondazionemaxxi.it/progetto-architettonico/
Neo-Expressionism was active in all of Germany, where new generations feel the need to distance themselves from a past of horror constituted by the undeniable atrocities of the Nazi regime and the war.
Neuen Wilden, or ‘New Savages’, were a group of German expressionist artists, active in the eighties in Berlin and Germany. The name “Neu wilden” was founded in 1980, when it is used to designate the artists exhibited in a group show at the Neue Galerie-Sammlung Ludwig in Aachen, Germany. It passed to designate group of younger painters, followers of a “screaming” and gestural painting, by violent and dissonant tones.
Neo Expressionist Painters
- Anselm Kiefer (born in 1945) German painter and sculptor, photographer and installation artist.
- Georg Baselitz (born in 1938) German painter became famous for his upside-down images.
Image source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/sep/22/art.
Julian Schnabel (born in 1951) American painter and film-maker, author of ‘Corine Near Armenia’(1984) and ‘Large Girl with no eyes’ (2001).
- David Salle (born 1952) American painter, printmaker, who helped define postmodern sensibility.
Neo Expressionism in Italy
‘Transavanguardia’ (Transavantgarde) is an Italian art style in the early eighties theorized the return to the joy and the colors of life. Achille Bonito Oliva conied the term.
Image source: http://www.artnet.com/artists/enzo-cucchi/musica-ebbra
- Sandro Chia (born in 1946) italian painter and sculptor.
- Enzo Cucchi (born in 1949) known for his communicative anxiety in his artworks.
- Francesco Clemente (born in 1952) italian painter. His masterpieces are ‘Water and wine’(1981), ‘Conversion to her’(1983).
- Nicola De Maria (born in 1954) painter and writer, one of founders of Transavanguardia.
- Domenico Paladino (born in 1948) italian sculptor, painter and printmaker.
Image source: https://dayoftheartist.com/2014/08/13/