Untitled (Tree 1) | Albert Oehlen | Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa
Past exhibition

Albert Oehlen: Behind The Image

10.21.2016 - 02.05.2017

Albert Oehlen (b. Krefeld, Germany, 1954) is one of the most influential painters of the past few decades and one of the most controversial artists in post-war Germany. His painting style, which is unmistakably contemporary, draws from a blend of techniques rooted in advertising, the expressionist brushstroke, surrealist gesture, and computer-generated images. Oehlen is a conceptual artist who uses painting as a medium, and whose work—specifically his paintings—has contributed to the debate on the death of painting which has emerged every so often since the mid-20th century. Regarding the interpretation of his works, he states: “Think whatever you like. It is boring to talk about meaning. I’m not looking for the public’s connection or understanding. They are all free to feel.” Over the past few years, his paintings have developed what he defines as his main topic: artistic freedom. This is made patent in his bravery and abandon when facing the canvas, using new techniques that maintain the vocabulary from the past, yet awaken a strange, paradoxical sensation that this is something new, yet familiar.

This exhibition, made up of three series, two self-portraits, and a newly-created collage-painting, does not aim to be a retrospective exercise, but rather an artistic statement. The first series is abstract and dates back to the eighties; the second is made up of computer works from the nineties; and the third, begun in 1989 and still underway, deals with trees. The exhibition explores “to which extent we are able to see behind the image.” Although the paintings selected for this show are formally different at first glance, the three series bear a common core that associates and connects them. With Oehlen the image dissolves into irony and innuendo. Superficially dilettante gesture, or “bad painting,” shatters these ideals of classical panel painting radically and enduringly. This painterly openness is also reflected on a thematic level.,

 

Albert Oehlen
Untitled (Tree 1) [Ohne Titel (Baum 1)], 2013
Oil on Dibond
378 x 250 cm
Private collection, courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris
© Albert Oehlen
Photo: def image

The Exhibition

Self-Portrait as Spring

Self-Portrait as Spring (Selbst als Frühling), 2006
Photowallpaper, oil, acrylic on wood
265 x 385 cm (2 parts)
Private collection
Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris
© Albert Oehlen

Untitled, 1994

Untitled, 1994
Silkscreen print and acrylic paint on canvas
280 x 520 cm
Private collection
Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris © Albert Oehlen

Untitled (Arrows)

Untitled (Arrows) [Ohne Titel (Pfeile)], 1988
Oil on canvas
276 x375 cm
Private collection, courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris
Photo: Archive Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris
© Albert Oehlen

Tree 1

Untitled (Tree 1) [Ohne Titel (Baum 1)], 2013
Oil on Dibond
378 x 250 cm
Private collection, courtesy Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris
Photo: def image
© Albert Oehlen

El Artista

Oehlen Portrait Schultz Berndt 1 1

Oehlen, Albert

Krefeld - Alemania, 1954

Albert Oehlen was born in Krefeld, Germany, in 1954. In Hamburg, he attended the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, where he studied Fine Arts from 1977 until 1981, and where Sigmar Polke was his professor. His first individual exhibition was held...

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