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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

Jens-Uwe Beyer and Albert Oehlen’s album, Yellow Book (2019)

Launch

Jens-Uwe Beyer and Albert Oehlen
Yellow Book Album

Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 5–11pm
Iklectik, London
iklectikartlab.com

Iklectik will be hosting the London launch of Jens-Uwe Beyer and Albert Oehlen’s limited-edition collaborative album, Yellow Book, copublished by Magazine and Gagosian. The event will include music from the album and visuals by Oehlen. The eight vinyl records of Beyer’s atmospheric, melodic tech-house music are stored in full cover sleeves inside a slipcase, each featuring silkscreened artwork by Oehlen. To attend the free event, register at www.tickettailor.com

Jens-Uwe Beyer and Albert Oehlen’s album, Yellow Book (2019)

Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Online Viewing Room

Frieze Los Angeles 2020

February 10–19, 2020
gagosianviewingroom.com

Gagosian will launch its latest Online Viewing Room on the occasion of Frieze Los Angeles, with available works by Chris BurdenAlex Israel & Bret Easton EllisNeil JenneyAlbert Oehlen, Chris Ofili, David ReedEd Ruscha, Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Tatiana Trouvé, and Jonas WoodMany of the artworks included in this virtual presentation consider the political, geographical, and social landscapes of Los Angeles.

The Frieze Los Angeles 2020 Online Viewing Room will open at 12:00am on Monday, February 10, in Hong Kong, and close at 11:59pm on Wednesday, February 19, in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

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

Download the full press release (PDF)

Chris Burden, L.A.P.D. Uniform, 1993 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Currin, Young Woman on a Lounger, 2014 © John Currin

Art Fair

Taipei Dangdai 2020

January 17–19, 2020, booth E20
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center
taipeidangdai.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Taipei Dangdai 2020, presenting works by Georg Baselitz, John Currin, Edmund de Waal, Urs Fischer, Katharina Grosse, Damien Hirst, Robert Indiana, John Mason, Takashi Murakami, Takashi Murakami & Virgil Abloh, Albert Oehlen, Nam June Paik, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Spencer Sweeney, Tom Wesselmann, and Jonas Wood, 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 taipeidangdei.com

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

John Currin, Young Woman on a Lounger, 2014 © John Currin

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Museum Exhibitions

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2015 © Albert Oehlen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

Closing this Week

Carroll Dunham / Albert Oehlen
Bäume / Trees

Through March 1, 2020
Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany
www.kunsthalle-duesseldorf.de

Within their individual self-im­posed pa­ram­e­ters Car­roll Dunham and Albert Oehlen con­tin­u­al­ly test the pos­si­bil­i­ties of paint­ing, ex­per­i­ment­ing with tech­niques, sur­faces, and struc­tures in an in­de­pen­dent manner. Nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than in regard to the sub­ject of trees, which both artists have re­peat­ed­ly in­clud­ed in their work and in­ter­pret­ed in their own ways. This exhibition brings to­geth­er large-scale paint­ings alongside draw­ings, etch­ings, and mono­types by both painters in which they ex­plore the arboreal themes in their rad­i­cal­ly in­de­pen­dent pic­to­ri­al lan­guages.

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2015 © Albert Oehlen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

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

Closed

Albert Oehlen

October 2, 2019–February 2, 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

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

Closed

The Foundation of the Museum
MOCA’s Collection

May 19, 2019–January 20, 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

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

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Albert Oehlen
Unfertig

July 6–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

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Press

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