Ulf Puder (b. 1958) and Neo Rauch graduated in 1990 from the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (HGB) Leipzig as a Meisterschüler of Prof. Bernhard Heisig. They have influenced an important generation artists and for Puder his work is central to many of the leading Leipzig painters such as Matthias Weischer and today he is especially important to younger artists in Eastern and Central Europe.
His masterly paintings of architectural structures are devoid of human life and hover between abstraction and representation. Puder places chaos and quietude side by side. Symbols of human creation, industrialization and desolation are rendered in extreme perspectives, in front of dimly hued skies. Puder’s scenes induce a sense of calm disorder, or animated stillness, perplexing and haunting as they appear to the beholder. Floss der Medusa (2012) is a raft built from roofs, angled walls, cantilevers and sloping handrails that are piled up triangularly in front of a somber horizon. A member of the Neue Leipziger Schule, Puder gained international acclaim for adding an experimental surrealism to East-German Neo-Realism. In this large-scale work, architectural modules are about to collapse, alluding to turmoil and despair in society. Motif and title both set the link to the iconic The Raft of the Medusa by French painter Théodore Géricault, which depicts the conversion from men into cannibals due to the basic human instinct to survive. Puder’s works pose questions to our society and its relationship with the past.
Ulf Puder is represented by Galerie Jochen Hempel in Germany. He has had numerous international solo shows and is part of major public and private collections. Most significantly, Puder was included in After the Wall, an exhibit shown at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1999), the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and the Museum Ludwig in Budapest (2000).