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Albert Oehlen

Albert Oehlen (b.1954,Krefeld, Germany) was part of the ‘Neue Wilden’ group in the ’80s, along with Martin Kippenberger and Werner Büttner, and he mercilessly dissects the pictorial process. Far from being afraid of ‘bad painting’, he works the material, scrambles motifs, manhandles the support and does not hesitate to push his experiments ever further. Oehlen, who is also a rock musician, is ironical, insolent and self-critical and is always in search of modes of pictorial expression which, in the words of German artist Paul Klee (1879-1940), ‘make visible’ (which, for him, was the essence of art). However, Oehlen is well aware of the possible pitfalls of this approach. The notion of failure, that he frequently evokes, is fully integrated into his approach to painting, thus ridiculing its tendency to provide answers to everything.

In Froher Depp (‘happy fool’, 1996), Oehlen seems to superimpose several paintings. Colour fields with sharp edges are succeeded by the spontaneity of gestural interventions, the artist having repainted, mixed-up and enriched the composition. Skillfully linking different pictorial languages, Oehlen’s paintings appear to be real condensations of visual energy in which the colours, shapes and lines are in a state of permanent dissolution and reconstruction.

Artworks

  1. Albert Oehlen Froher Depp, 1996

    Huile sur toile
    220 x 340 cm
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Apport FOCUNA
    Acquisition 1997
    © Photo : Rémi Villaggi

Marina Abramović, "Video Portrait Gallery", 1975-1998 | Collection Mudam Luxembourg | Acquisition 2001
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