Arno Rink - Maker of Painters
Today, Leipzig is one of the few cities in East Germany that is known worldwide. Surfacing again and again in biographies of Leipzig artists – who have contributed to the city’s reputation outside of Germany as an artistic hub – is the name of a teacher of art: Arno Rink. With his enigmatic pictorial idiom, this painter – a former head of the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (Academy of Fine Arts) in Leipzig – shaped art in the GDR, and the art of the Leipzig School after the fall of the Berlin Wall, like no other figure. Rink’s paintings are characterized by a literary-narrative component that continues – even today – to condition the canon of forms of entire generations of Leipzig artists. Star artists such as Neo Rauch, Tim Eitel, Matthias Weischer, Rosa Loy, Martin Eder, and Miriam Vlaming were strongly influenced by him. About his friend and mentor Rink, Neo Rauch has said: “The significance of his creative achievement should definitely be made known to the world. He has been undervalued for decades, has remained under the radar of critics and curators. An injustice. When they praised us, they failed to understand! It was Arno who made Leipzig what it is today. I and other artists owe Arno so much!”
As rector of the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Rink established an unconstrained creative environment for students, and enjoyed enormous popularity. Today, however, he is regarded mainly as a “maker of painters.” He played a central role in fostering the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) style, and in promoting Leipzig’s international recognition. Rink made a substantial contribution to the city’s current status as one of the pivotal centers for art in Germany. In September of 2017, at the age of 76, Arno Rink died after a long struggle with cancer. The end arrived during preparations for a major retrospective of his work at the Museum für Bildende Künste in Leipzig. He fought, painted, and worked on this extensive exhibition to the very finish. The survey exhibition “Arno Rink: Ich male!” (Arno Rink: I Paint!) will open – without the artist – in April 2018.