Albert Oehlen - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Patrick Painter Inc., Santa Monica

  • Catalogue Essay

    Untitled, 1989, an early abstract work of German painter Albert Oehlen, is a classic example of what the artist describes as his “post non- representational” style. The present lot, characterized by muted, swirling swashes of color occupies an enigmatic space between representation and abstraction. Shapes converge into almost recognizable subjects, suggesting purposeful invention only to dissolve back into the fluid, broad space of the canvas. Oehlen, a master of painterly deception, explores and critiques the accepted canons of abstraction though a deliberate appropriation of traditionally abstract form and expression. However, the artist chooses to reject artistic tradition and instead aims to reconstitute a contemporary meaning for art as an independently articulate form. The result is a teasing glimpse into Oehlen’s confrontation with painterly tradition while simultaneously fracturing the exploration of visual language.

  • 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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Oil, metallic paint and varnish on canvas.

95 x 79 in. (241.3 x 200.7 cm).

Signed and dated “A. Oehlen 89” on the reverse.

$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $194,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 Nov 2009
New York