Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY
Skarstedt Gallery, New York, NY
Part of a Hamburg-based clique of German post-war artists that included Martin Kippenberger, Wolfgang Bauer, Arnulf Rainer, and others, Albert Oehlen’s anxious, heterogeneous body of work was opposed to almost every movement that preceded it, including Pop, Neo-Expressionism, and conceptualism, though it also derives from many of those same movements. Oehlen’s paintings often focus on the figure as a site for the construction of subjective experience. Through the use of collage, expressive gesture, and computer-generated imagery, Oehlen examines the way that our identies are formed as mediated accretions of images. Oehlen’s 2008 oil painting Hombre uses an ad for a wetsuit as a surrogate for the human form. The image has been wildly smeared and dashed with gestural marks that work their way in from every side of the canvas, obscuring and pressuring the body imagined for this product.
Oehlen has shown widely and been subjected to great critical praise. He was included in a major touring survey of post-war and Cold War German art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the German National Museum at Nuremberg, and the German History Museum in Berlin. Solo retrospectives of Oehlen’s work have been shown at the Kunsthalle Basel, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami.