ABSTRACT PAINTINGS (1980S)
Albert Oehlen’s abstract paintings actually straddle between figuration and abstraction, and are recognizable by how the artist impetuously and exaltedly uses color, and by the brushstroke’s personal and daring gesture. Oehlen began painting abstract pictures in 1988, when he moved to Andalusia along with artist Martin Kippenberger. Regarding this shift in his style, Oehlen has stated: "In a way it was because I thought that art history went from figuration to abstraction. And I should do the same. I should have the same development in my life as art history."
These paintings, made with the oil technique, the most traditional pictorial method, transmit a feeling of carelessness, as if the artist were hiding his true technical skill by using bright-colored fillers. They do not heed to any conventional beauty norm of established standard.
Oehlen’s abstract pictures are neither beautiful nor attractive. In his statements made regarding his own work, the artist’s sarcasm is blatant: "When you work on a painting for a month, you spend 30 days standing in front of the world's ugliest picture. In my work, I'm constantly surrounded by the most dreadful pictures. It’s true. What I see are unbearably ugly tatters, which are then transformed at the last moment, as if by magic, into something beautiful."