Albert Oehlen - Under the Influence New York Sunday, March 8, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris

  • Catalogue Essay

    Albert Oehlen: I’m fascinated by rules.  That doesn’t mean I believe in them or take them seriously–I like to play with them.  When I’m painting I always follow rules, give myself orders, do this, do that.  I’m fascinated by Abstract Expressionism, by French abstraction, by Asger Jorn.  And all that emerges from Surrealism.  The Surrealists thought about rules, about the conditions of their work, and they fooled around with them.  The Abstract Expressionists had simpler rules.  Their work was conditioned by the size of the canvas and the distance and gestures of the artist.  When I saw that, I thought: bring in more parameters.  That was my idea.
     Marcus Verhagen: To make it…
     Albert Oelen: ...more complex.  That’s the game.  So I invent rules and conditions and parameters.
    M. Verhagen, “Blank Canvas: Good to Be Bad,” Art Review, New York, August 2006, p. 74

  • Artist Biography

    Albert Oehlen

    Albert Oehlen is a German contemporary artist whose work explores the capabilities and failures of painting in the age of postmodernism. His deconstructed artworks reduce painting to a discordant mixture of its constituent elements—color, gesture, motion, and duration—and celebrate the resulting disharmony as an artistic expedition to the frontiers of the abilities of painting. Oehlen began his career in the art scenes of Cologne and Berlin, becoming associated with the Junge Wilde artists who sought to create works that defied classification and disrupted the artistic status quo. He has carried this sense of rebelliousness into his mature career with works that incorporate digital technologies as well as more traditional media. Oehlen’s paintings are marked by inherent, gleeful contradictions, always wielded with a cavalier confidence in the artist’s prowess – his uncooperative fusions of abstraction and figuration, for example, expose the inefficiencies of each art mode and explore the function of painting as much as its meaning.

    Oehlen has attracted critical praise befitting the innovative nature of his work, and he has been the subject of several major exhibitions at institutions such as the Mumok, Vienna and the New Museum, New York. He lives and works between Bühler, Switzerland.

    View More Works


Das Gewicht der Ladung (The Weight of the Freight)

Silkscreen, oil and spraypaint on canvas. 
78 1/4 x 65 7/8 in. (198.8 x 167.3 cm).

$100,000 - 150,000 

Under the Influence

9 Mar 2009, 10am
New York