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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

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2019 © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Jeff McLane

Tour

Albert Oehlen
New Paintings

Thursday, October 10, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Hong Kong

Gagosian senior director Han-I Wang will lead a tour of Albert Oehlen’s first exhibition in Asia, a series of new paintings in watercolor on canvas. In these works, Oehlen emphasizes the importance of spontaneity within his artistic method. Oehlen’s use of watercolor in this series diverges from his recent works created with oil or lacquer on aluminum or the aluminum composite Dibond, and marks a stylistic return to his hazy, blended, almost impressionistic oil paintings dating from 2016 and earlier. To attend the free event, RSVP to hktours@gagosian.com. Space is limited.

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2019 © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Jeff McLane

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

Art Fair

Art Basel 2019

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: The History

Video

Albert Oehlen: The History
Art Basel Hong Kong 2019 Online Viewing Room

We can now see that this painting marks the exact point where all of Oehlen’s influences—de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Richter, Polke—come to a head, and how it acts as a departure point for what he will do over the next thirty years.
—Sam Orlofsky

Learn more about Albert Oehlen and the history behind this monumental 1988 painting with Gagosian directors Andrew Fabricant and Sam Orlofsky.

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Museum Exhibitions

Installation view, Albert Oehlen: Unfertig, Lokremise, St. Gallen, Switzerland, July 6–November 10, 2019.  Artwork © Albert Oehlen

On View

Albert Oehlen
Unfertig

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

This exhibition, whose title translates to Unfinished, features a range of works by Albert Oehlen from the 1980s to the present day, including paintings and video. Additionally, Oehlen has created a new site-specific installation, based on an earlier work, for the show.

Installation view, Albert Oehlen: Unfertig, Lokremise, St. Gallen, Switzerland, July 6–November 10, 2019.  Artwork © Albert Oehlen

Chris Burden, Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Squidds and Nunns

On View

The Foundation of the Museum
MOCA’s Collection

Through January 19, 2020
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles
www.moca.org

To mark the museum’s fortieth anniversary, this exhibition presents a selected topography of artworks that speak to the diversity of MOCA’s collecting over the past four decades. With special emphasis on works associated with the museum’s remarkable history of exhibitions, The Foundation of the Museum: MOCA’s Collection shows the institution’s holdings as shaped by a changing landscape of developments in contemporary art and curatorial focus, as well by as the social and cultural backdrops that inform them. Work by Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Albert Oehlen, Nancy Rubins, and Ed Ruscha is included.

Chris Burden, Exposing the Foundation of the Museum, 1986 © 2019 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Squidds and Nunns

Albert Oehlen, Sohn von Hundescheisse, 1999 © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin|Paris

Opening Soon

Albert Oehlen

October 2, 2019–January 12, 2020
Serpentine Gallery, London
www.serpentinegalleries.org

At the center of this exhibition is an installation that marks the beginning of Albert Oehlen’s process of interpreting the Rothko Chapel in Houston. Oehlen has made four new paintings—of the same scale and size as the four horizontal canvases by Mark Rothko found in the chapel—specifically for the exhibition. A selection of paintings by the artist from the past two decades and a newly configured soundtrack by Steamboat Switzerland are also included.

Albert Oehlen, Sohn von Hundescheisse, 1999 © Albert Oehlen. Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin|Paris

Albert Oehlen, Paravent 3, 2015 © Albert Oehlen

Closed

Albert Oehlen
Trance

Through September 2019
Aïshti Foundation, Jal el Dib, 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

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Press

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