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  • Provenance

    Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

  • Exhibited

    Kunsthalle Basel, Albert Oehlen, 1997

  • Literature

    Kunsthalle Basel, ed., Albert Oehlen: Albert vs. History, Basel 1997 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Painting died years ago, some say, at the hands of television, conceptualism and everything in between; Pop Art image factories humming with the energy of Baudrillard’s ecstasy of communication sounded its death knell. But was it not resurrected, rising from the ashes to critical and commercial glory? Or has it since perished yet again, dispersed onto street corners, subsumed into multimedia installations and superceded by the cold binary code of digital image making? We live in a strange world in which to be a painter, and the ups and downs of the medium’s roller-coaster changes in critical status are certainly not lost on one of the form’s most eminent stars, the German artist Albert Oehlen. For Oehlen, the art-historical impasse at which he and all contemporary painters find themselves is not just a problem, but the problem; the central concern of his practice. With Streithelfer (1997), Oehlen delivers an explosive neon pink and blue concoction of passionate painterly gestures with subtle figurative elements, most of them printed onto the canvas via inkjet, peeking in and out from beneath the frenzied surface. Bright, energetic, and lighthearted in appearance it is also a carefully-studied experiment, an intervention into the debate on painting’s future that demands a thoughtful reconsideration of the very definition of painting itself.

    Oehlen aims to demystify the process of painting by continuously redefining the boundaries between figurative and abstract art. While conscious of the classical rules of painting he rejects these theories of color and composition to expose their limitations. His paintings are an expression of his thoughts on art as a medium. As Oehlen explains, “For me, painting is just one of many ways of making art. So I can romp around in it. And now that I’m having fun with it, I can take its postulates very seriously,” (D. Diederichsen, “The rules of the game: Diedrichsen Visits Albert Oehlen,” Artforum November 1994, p 71).

  • 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


Streithelfer (Mediator)

Inkjet print and oil on canvas.

86 5/8 x 121 5/8 in. (220 x 309 cm).
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £90,000

The Marino Golinelli Collection

13 October 2007, 1pm