From mirrors as canvases to computer paintings, this is the definitive monograph of Albert Oehlen's work to date. In the so-called death of painting, Oehlen found instead its enlivenment, expanding his practice by setting rules explicitly designed to overcome convention. A must-have for anyone serious about contemporary art and the future of painting practice.
Often wryly funny and just as smart, Albert Oehlen’s paintings play the medium for all it’s worth—and then some. After realizing that the so-called death of painting freed him to explore “the number of aspects through which one could expand painting,” Oehlen started work on a wide variety of figurative and non-objective offerings, in what he has called his “post-non-figurative” art. The artist continuously challenges himself, setting up rules that force him to overcome convention and his own routine in order to arrive at a satisfying image. During his career he has chosen to paint only in primary colors or in gray, to integrate mirrors into his canvases, or to take up computer painting when the first PCs became available. In his most recent work Oehlen expands painting through the use of advertising posters whose in-your-face aesthetics he transforms with subtle brushwork. Never without a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor, his work seems to be winking at us as it dares us to change the way we perceive an image.
This XL monograph covers the entire scope of Oehlen’s oeuvre: Roberto Ohrt discusses the early years, when Oehlen came into his own alongside Kippenberger, Büttner, and others, part of a scene that broke rules in art and rock music. Klaus Kertess examines the years from 1988 onwards, when Oehlen saw himself more self-consciously as a painter and started his first abstract works, then continued to probe the limits of the medium. Martin Prinzhorn and John Corbett take a close look at aspects of Oehlen’s iconography, and Oehlen discusses his computer paintings in a conversation with Corbett. An exhaustive biography and bibliography round out this comprehensive study. While Oehlen fans will rejoice at the publication of this breathtaking book, no one with an interest in contemporary art should pass up this unique opportunity to discover Oehlen’s remarkable body of work.