Albert Oehlen, Untitled (Baum 84), 2016, oil on dibond, 98 7/16 × 98 7/16 inches (250 × 250 cm) © Albert Oehlen. Photo by Stefan Rohner.
For Albert Oehlen, the practice of painting and its inherent unpredictability is a subject in itself. The guiding principles of his method are impulse and eclecticism, while his tools are fingers, brushes, collage, and computer. He often begins by imposing a set of rules or structural limitations—restricting his palette or deliberately working at a slow pace—while challenging himself to approach each painting differently. He treats abstraction as either gesture or geometry, superimposed, in combination, or conflated with a figurative register, as in readymade posters covered in smudges and stains. Pictorial form is a trigger rather than an end in itself.
Albert Oehlen was born in 1954 in Krefeld, Germany and currently lives and works in Switzerland. Collections include Museum of Modern Art, New York; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, FL; Broad Contemporary Art Museum, Santa Monica, CA; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate, London; Istanbul Modern; and Museo Jumex, Mexico City. Recent solo exhibitions include Secession, Vienna (2004); “I know whom you showed last summer,” Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL (2005); Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy (2009); “Réalitéabstraite,” Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (2009); “Terpentin,” Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2012); mumok - Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna (2013); 55th Biennale di Venezia (2013); Museum Wiesenbaden, Germany (2014); “Home and Garden,” New Museum, New York (2015); “An Old Painting in Spirit,” Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2015); and “Albert Oehlen: Behind the Image,” Guggenheim Bilbao (2017).