Albert Oehlen - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Saturday, June 28, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt

  • Catalogue Essay

    With it impressive scale and eath tones pallet, "Black Rationality appropriates the tones and equestrian subject of historical painting and re-renders them as a punk-ethic effigy. The skeletons of the horses provide a Picasso-like motif. Seemingly two paintings in one, Black Rationality is a painting in conflict. Albert Oehlen sets up the flatness of an abstract expressionist ground; the figures are placed as a separate layer creating an illusion of perspective.
    In an optical contention between surface and depth, Albert Oehlen exposes the limitations of both abstraction and representation to denounce and eulogise artistic tradition. In a literal depiction of a graveyard, Albert Oehlen presents painting as a hallowed myth, resonant beyond its expiration." (Taken from

  • 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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Black Rationality

Latex on canvas.
255 x 190 cm. (100 3/8 x 74 3/4 in).

£80,000 - 120,000 ≠ ♠ †

Sold for £97,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2008, 5pm