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Albert Oehlen

The painting Froher Depp (1996) by Albert Oehlen (b. 1954, Krefeld) is a densely layered composition in which various approaches to painting coexist with no apparent order. Flat areas of colour are overlaid with energetic brushwork and spray-painted line. Abstract, graphic forms jostle with softer elements, patches of fluorescent pink and yellow appear together with watery browns and nebulous periods of black. These gestural marks are in turn occasionally intersected by vertical lines of paint allowed to drip down over the lower part of the canvas. The composition appears to derive from collage, the underlying elements seeming to be cut and pasted together, revealing a process which occupies a primary role in Oehlen’s work. This somewhat joyful mix of form, technique and colour, often referred to as (deliberately) bad painting is underwritten in the title of the work, which can be translated from German as ‘happy fool’.


  1. Albert Oehlen Froher Depp, 1996

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

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