Albert Oehlen

Year of birth, place
1954, Krefeld, Germany
Role at the ZKM
Artist of the Collection
Biography
Albert Oehlen (the elder brother of Markus Oehlen, q.v.) was born in Krefeld in 1954. He studied (1977-81) at the Hochschule für Bildende Kunst, Hamburg. He lives in Hamburg and in La Palma.

Painting is central to Oehlen's work as an artist, although this also embraces photo-montage, printmaking and carpet design. (In addition, Oehlen has worked as a writer and a musician). In 1982-83 he produced a series of 'mirror paintings', the »Spiegelbilder«, in which mirrors were incorporated within otherwise painted images. In 1985 he embarked on a cycle of abstract images, the 'Theory of Colour', the »Farbenlehre«. During the production of each of these, the pictorial vocabulary was rendered ineffective as a result of the arbitrary superposition of diverse motifs, colours and painting styles, which none of these was, however, able to dominate. In Oehlen's 'Computer Images' (»Computerbildern«) of the 1990s, the theme of the origin and evolution of the image is more urgently addressed: these works are large silk-screen prints derived from computer-generated graphics. Pre-prepared elements, stored in the computer memory, determine the creation of a network across the canvas, the result somewhat resembling a collage. The computer-mouse, then, has effectively assumed the former role of the artist's brush. By means of the subsequent over-painting of these computer-generated images, the technological image-production process claims something of the aura traditionally associated with the product of the artist's hand. 

Individual exhibitions (selection)
 
1981 »Bevor ihr malt, mach ich das lieber«, Galerie Max Hetzler, Stuttgart
1985 »Farbenlehre«, Galerie Ascan Crone, Hamburg
1986 Ileana Sonnabend Gallery, New York
1987 »Retrospektive«, Galerie Susan Wyss, Zürich
1992 Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne
1993 Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg
1994 »Albert Oehlen: Malerei«, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1995 »Oehlen Williams 95«, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; »Recent Paintings«, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Chicago
1996 Luhring Augustine, New York
1997 Kunsthalle, Basle; Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin
 
Group exhibitions (selection)
 
1982 »Zwölf Künstler aus Deutschland«, Kunsthalle, Basle, subsequently at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam
1984 »Von hier aus«, Messegelände, Düsseldorf 
1988 »BiNationale«, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Kunsthalle Bremen, Stuttgart
1989 »Bilderstreit«, Museum Ludwig, Rheinhallen, Cologne
1991 »Metropolis«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
1992 »Ars Pro Domo«, Museum Ludwig, Cologne
1993 »Der zerbrochene Spiegel«, Kunsthalle und Messepalast, Vienna, subsequently at Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
1995 »Pittura/lmmedia«, Neue Galerie und Künstlerhaus, Graz, subsequently at Mücsárnok, Budapest
1996 »Sammlung Speck«, Museum Ludwig, Cologne; »Views from Abroad, European Perspectives on American Art«, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/M

[David Richardt, 1997]