Born 1954, Krefeld, Germany
Lives and works in Cologne, Germany and La Palma, Spain
A highly prolific artist with an evolving style, Albert Oehlen makes paintings that are neither figurative nor abstract but draw on both traditions and make a field day of their histories. His approach to a canvas is to cover it with elaborate brushstrokes and clearly appropriated imagery making an energetic mass. Oehlen’s formation is tied to his studies with Sigmar Polke, his friendship with Martin Kippenberger, and his association with the neo-expressionist art scene in Hamburg. As a part of the Junge Wilde (Wild Youth) in the 1980’s Oehlen rejected the cool objectivity of Minimalist artists in favor of wildly subjective, highly colorful, and heavily layered gestural productions. His style could be described as an ironic compendium of Abstract Expressionist gestures mashed over graffiti with Surrealist elements that seem about to coalesce into recognizable forms. In interviews and conversations Oehlen talks about revealing his painting, exposing his working methods, and making choices that throw him off balance.
Albert Oehlen studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst. Exhibitions of his work have been held at: Musée d’Arte Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Musée d’art modern de la ville de Paris; Carré d’Arte-Musée d’art contemporain de Nimes; and Museo di Capodimonte, Naples; Musee Cantonal Des Beaux Arts, Lausanne; Whitechapel Gallery, London; the Secession, Vienna; The Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL; and Kunsthalle, Berlin.