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Albert Oehlen

Albert Oehlen, I 11, 2009 Paper on canvas, 66 15/16 × 90 9/16 inches (170 × 230 cm)© Albert Oehlen

Albert Oehlen, I 11, 2009

Paper on canvas, 66 15/16 × 90 9/16 inches (170 × 230 cm)
© Albert Oehlen

Albert Oehlen, FM 38, 2011 Oil and paper on canvas, 86 ⅝ × 74 13/16 inches (220 × 190 cm)© Albert Oehlen, photo by Mike Bruce

Albert Oehlen, FM 38, 2011

Oil and paper on canvas, 86 ⅝ × 74 13/16 inches (220 × 190 cm)
© Albert Oehlen, photo by Mike Bruce

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2014 Oil on Dibond, 147 ⅝ × 98 7/16 inches (375 × 250 cm)© Albert Oehlen, photo by Lothar Schnepf

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2014

Oil on Dibond, 147 ⅝ × 98 7/16 inches (375 × 250 cm)
© Albert Oehlen, photo by Lothar Schnepf

Albert Oehlen, Untitled (Baum 30), 2015 Oil on Dibond, 118 ⅛ × 78 ¾ inches (300 × 200 cm)© Albert Oehlen, photo by Stuart Burford

Albert Oehlen, Untitled (Baum 30), 2015

Oil on Dibond, 118 ⅛ × 78 ¾ inches (300 × 200 cm)
© Albert Oehlen, photo by Stuart Burford

Albert Oehlen, Untitled (Baum 84), 2016 Oil on dibond, 98 7/16 × 98 7/16 inches (250 × 250 cm)© Albert Oehlen, photo by Stefan Rohner

Albert Oehlen, Untitled (Baum 84), 2016

Oil on dibond, 98 7/16 × 98 7/16 inches (250 × 250 cm)
© Albert Oehlen, photo by Stefan Rohner

About

Qualities that I want to see brought together: delicacy and coarseness, color and vagueness, and, underlying them all, a base note of hysteria.
—Albert Oehlen

Albert Oehlen’s oeuvre is a testament to the innate freedom of the creative act. Through expressionist brushwork, surrealist methodology, and self-conscious amateurism he engages with the history of abstract painting, pushing the basic components of abstraction to new extremes.

Oehlen studied at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg in Germany from 1978 to 1981 and quickly rose to prominence in the Berlin and Cologne art scenes. He came to be associated with the Junge Wilde artists, including Martin Kippenberger and Werner Büttner, who sought to create work that defied categorization and refuted the artistic status quo. Straddling various debates surrounding the nature of painting, Oehlen’s work deconstructed the medium to its constituent elements—color, gesture, motion, and time—and evolved out of constraints he applied to his artistic process. This line of investigation, which Oehlen has continued to pursue in the decades since has resulted in striking variations between—from works that combine abstract and figurative styles, created in response to the Neo-Expressionism of the 1980s, to paintings comprising of grids of colored squares.

As Oehlen began to incorporate new technologies into his work—inkjet printers, computer-aided design programs, and references to the pixelated lines of computer screens—the parameters that he set for himself shifted, offering new obstacles and challenges. Some of these self-imposed “rules” include limiting his palette and combining perambulating black lines with carefully blended gradations (in the Baumbilder [Tree Paintings]), and utilizing erasure and layering to juxtapose bright and muddy colors, as in the Elevator Paintings, a single work in nine parts from 2016. In the late 1990s, Oehlen spray-painted over collaged imagery that had been transferred to canvas with large, industrial printers typically used to create billboards.

Oehlen is perhaps best known for his embrace of “bad” painting. Alongside his many rules, he allows a certain awkwardness or ugliness to enter his work, introducing unsettling gestures, crudely drawn figures, visceral smears of artificial pigments, bold hues, and flesh tones. In this way, he attests to the infinite combinations of form made possible through painting, and shows that these combinations can be manipulated at the artist’s will to produce novel perceptual challenges for the viewer.

Albert Oehlen

Photo: Katherine McMahon

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons

Art Fair

Art Basel

June 13–16, 2019, booth C9
Messe Basel
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, Joe Bradley, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Urs Fischer, Ellen Gallagher, Alberto Giacometti, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jeff Koons, Man Ray, Albert Oehlen, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, and Franz West, among others.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Jeff Koons, Sacred Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2007 © Jeff Koons

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 1988 © Albert Oehlen

Online Viewing Room

Albert Oehlen
Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

March 23–31, 2019
gagosianviewingroom.com

Alongside the presentation of works by several gallery artists at Art Basel Hong Kong, the Online Viewing Room features a single important painting by Albert Oehlen. Informational texts and video on the abstract work from 1988 are available in English and Chinese, and Gagosian staff are available online twenty-four hours a day for live assistance. This online offering of a major painting by Oehlen—a work made at a pivotal moment in his trajectory as a painter—comes on the heels of the career-spanning survey Albert Oehlen: Cows by the Water­­ at Palazzo Grassi, Venice.

The Art Basel Hong Kong Online Viewing Room will open at 12:00am on Saturday, March 23, in Hong Kong, and close at 11:59pm on Sunday, March 31, in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

For more information about the Art Basel Hong Kong 2019 Online Viewing Room or the work to be featured, please contact inquire@gagosian.com.

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 1988 © Albert Oehlen

Zeng Fanzhi, Rooster, 2019 © 2019 Zeng Fanzhi

Art Fair

Art Basel Hong Kong

March 29–31, 2019, booth 1C18
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
www.artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong 2019, with works by Georg Baselitz, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Andreas Gursky, Duane Hanson, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Yayoi Kusama, René Magritte, Giorgio Morandi, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Rachel Whiteread, Jonas Wood, Christopher Wool, Zao Wou-Ki, Zeng Fanzhi, and others. 

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Download the full press release in English, Simplified Chinese, or Traditional Chinese

Zeng Fanzhi, Rooster, 2019 © 2019 Zeng Fanzhi

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Museum Exhibitions

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 1992–2005, Collection Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris © Albert Oehlen/ADAGP, Paris 2019. Photo © Primae/David Bordes

On View

Albert Oehlen in
La Collection de la Fondation: Le parti de la peinture

Through August 26, 2019
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr

Seventy-five paintings by twenty-three international artists from the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s collection, dating from the 1960s to today, are on view. Work by Albert Oehlen is included.

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 1992–2005, Collection Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris © Albert Oehlen/ADAGP, Paris 2019. Photo © Primae/David Bordes

Albert Oehlen, Mel, 2004 © Albert Oehlen. Photo: © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich

On View

Albert Oehlen
Unfinished

Through November 10, 2019
Lokremise, St. Gallen, Switzerland
www.lokremise.ch

A solo exhibition by Albert Oehlen is opening at Lokremise.

Albert Oehlen, Mel, 2004 © Albert Oehlen. Photo: © 2019 ProLitteris, Zurich

Albert Oehlen, Paravent 3, 2015 © Albert Oehlen

On View

Albert Oehlen
Trance

Through September 2019
Aïshti Foundation, Lebanon
www.aishtifoundation.com

Trance is a solo exhibition by Albert Oehlen. Oehlen is also curating a group show drawn from both the Aïshti Foundation’s collection and from his personal collection.

Albert Oehlen, Paravent 3, 2015 © Albert Oehlen

Installation view, Albert Oehlen: Cows by the Water, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, April 8, 2018–January 6, 2019. Artwork © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Matteo De Fina © Palazzo Grassi

Closed

Albert Oehlen
Cows by the Water

April 8, 2018–January 6, 2019
Palazzo Grassi, Venice
www.palazzograssi.it

Presenting eighty-five works created between the 1980s and today, Cows by the Water reveals a syncopated rhythm between various genres and periods in Albert Oehlen’s complex oeuvre. Music emerges as metaphor of Oehlen’s working methods, where contamination and rhythm, improvisation and repetition, density and harmony become pictorial gestures.

Installation view, Albert Oehlen: Cows by the Water, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, April 8, 2018–January 6, 2019. Artwork © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Matteo De Fina © Palazzo Grassi

See all Museum Exhibitions for Albert Oehlen

Press

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