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  • Provenance

    Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

  • Exhibited

    Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, June 18 – September 5, 2004; Domus Artium 2002 Salamanca, December 9, 2004 – January 30, 2005; and Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Albert Oehlen: Peintures / Malerei 1980-2004 Selbstportrait mit 50millionenfacher Lichtgeschwindigkeit, April 28 – June 26, 2005

  • Literature

    R. Beil, C. Borgeaud, T. Groetz and I. Mercier, Albert Oehlen: Peintures / Malerei 1980-2004 Selbstportrait mit 50millionenfacher Lichtgeschwindigkeit, Zurich, 2004, p. 108 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Following a self-imposed set of guidelines certainly gives you more momentum. Forbidding yourself certain things, believing in rules, is a good state to be in. That’s the way to develop as an artist, by giving yourself instructions what to do next. One rule could be don’t stick anything on to the picture surface. There are examples from art history where you can say, “See, if he hadn’t done that, it would have been better.” [laughs] But of course, everything you feel you should reject represents a form of temptation. When you view a work of art, you notice things you had written off can hold surprises after all. A few years ago, I might have said I would never have any truck with Body art, and then someone comes along who does it well, contrary to all your expectations. If you want to surprise yourself in painting, the obvious choice is to take things that you would normally not bother with and give them a try.

    They are all about discipline—like new year’s resolutions. One of mine was, ‘Paint slower.’ And I did so, over a period of years: slower and slower and slower. Originally my pictures were very impulsive—that was in the context of Bad Painting. I used to think the easiest thing is to paint fast, and the appropriate results will automatically follow. Then it occurred to me: why not paint slower? [laughs] It sounds awfully banal but it had a great many consequences.” (Albert Oehlen, in interview with J. Heiser and J. Verwoert, “Ordinary Madness,” Frieze 78, 2003, pp 106-111).

  • 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.

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Spitzer Spion

Oil on canvas.
95 3/4 x 95 3/4 in. (243.2 x 243.2 cm).
Signed and dated "A. Oehlen 000" on the reverse.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $456,000

Contemporary Art Part I

17 May 2007
7pm New York