Gagosian Rome is pleased to present an exhibition of large-scale recent drawings by Albert Oehlen, following an exhibition of paintings at Gagosian New York earlier this year.
For Oehlen, the practice of drawing, like painting, is a subject in itself. Considering its natural expressionistic requirements and conditions, he reflects on the mark and its inverse, counteracting the gestural intuitiveness that is intrinsic to the act with an artificiality contrived according to parameters known only to himself.
Using elemental charcoal as his only tool, he applies the line vigorously, sometimes doubling on his own trace, smudging the medium, or completely erasing it in parts. Eventually the composition is fixed on the broad expanse of paper. These large works have a raw elegance, composed of apparently informal gestures—bold, sweeping lines, smudges, and swipes—in contrast to sometimes self-consciously awkward capitulations. Nothing coheres in a way that could be said to have substantive narrative dimension or pictorial legibility, except for visible stops and starts that prod the limits of content.
The resulting untitled drawings are thus the opposite of pure sensation, seeming to be impulsive and aleatory while in fact they are highly constructed. It is in this formal paradox or subterfuge of effect that the depth of content resides.
A fully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition is forthcoming and will include an essay by Danilo Eccher.
Gagosian Roma è lieta di annunciare una mostra di recenti disegni di grande formato di Albert Oehlen. La mostra segue un’esposizione di dipinti dell’artista presentata quest’anno presso la Gagosian a New York.
Per Oehlen l’atto del disegnare, come il dipingere, è di per sè oggetto della sua opera. Tenendo conto delle naturali regole espressionistiche del disegno, l’artista riflette sul segno e il suo opposto, contrapponendo l’intuito gestuale dell’atto in sè ad una artificialità concepita secondo suoi criteri personali.
Impiegando unicamente il carboncino, l’artista traccia linee decise, a volte ricalcandole, sbavandole o cancellandole in parte, fissando così la composizione sull’ampia superficie di carta. Questi lavori di grande formato esprimono una eleganza grezza, fatta di gesti apparentemente casuali—linee intense e vigorose, sbavature e strisciate—e di sporadici momenti di consapevole tregua. Nella sue opere nulla sembra partecipare alla creazione di una chiara dimensione narrativa o leggibilità pittorica, fatta eccezione per i visibili punti d’inizio e fine che ne rafforzano il contenuto.
Questi disegni senza titolo sono l’opposto della pura sensazione: apparentemente imponderati, sono in realtà altamente costruiti. É in questo paradosso o inganno che si rivela la complessità del contenuto.
Un catalogo illustrato della mostra è attualmente in fase di preparazione e includerà un saggio di Danilo Eccher.
Albert Oehlen: Terrifying Sunset
The artist speaks with Mark Godfrey about his new paintings, touching on the works’ relationship to John Graham, the Rothko Chapel, and Leigh Bowery.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2021
The Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006) on its cover.
Albert Oehlen and Mark Godfrey
Albert Oehlen speaks to Mark Godfrey about a recent group of abstract paintings, “academic” art, reversing habits, and questioning rules.
Albert Oehlen: In the Studio
This film by Albert Oehlen, with music by Tim Berresheim, takes us inside the artist’s studio in Switzerland as he works on a new painting.
Albert Oehlen and Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hans Ulrich Obrist interviews the artist on the occasion of his recent exhibition at the Serpentine Galleries, London.
Albert Oehlen: Maximum Chance Maximum Control
The artist met with art historian Christian Malycha to discuss his newest paintings.
April 7–13, 2021
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 is perhaps best known for his embrace of “bad” painting. Alongside his many rules, he allows a certain awkwardness 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.
Photo: Alejandro Ernesto/EPA/Shutterstock
Extended through September 11, 2021
June 10–September 11, 2021
Gagosian at Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles