Albert Oehlen (b. 1954)
On occasion, Christie’s has a direct financial int… Read more
Albert Oehlen (b. 1954)

Geschmeidig (Malleable)

Albert Oehlen (b. 1954)
Geschmeidig (Malleable)
signed, titled and dated geschmeidig A. Oehlen 99 (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
78¾ x 94¾in. (200 x 240.5cm.)
Painted in 1999
Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid.
Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin.
Private Collection.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

'Developing in the area of tension between figurative and abstract art, Albert Oehlen's work is subject to continual change. In his paintings, collages and drawings he demystifies art, rendering his artistic methodology transparent. His painting is the expression of his thoughts on art as a medium, a criticism of its veneration and an analysis of its artistic and social capabilities.' (U. Grosenick & B. Riemschneider, Art at the Turn of the Millenium, London, 1999, p. 362).
Painted in 1999, Albert Oehlen's Geschmeidig is a visually arresting work that proliferates with vivid pyrotechnics of colour and form. Across the sweeping canvas, Oehlen deliberately subverts the language of Abstract Expressionism, manipulating it to his own ends. The surface of the canvas proliferates with polished forms, heavy gestural brushwork and simulated airbrush spray paint. It is a composition that appears more collage than traditional painting, beautifully rendered on canvas.

Oehlen studied with Sigmar Polke in Hamburg in the 1970s becoming renowned in the 1980s alongside Martin Kippenberger as part of a generation of post-punk artists, actively rejecting the prevailing cultural values of the time. Emerging at a moment when painting had been pronounced dead, Oehlen reinvigorated the medium by mixing in multiple elements of abstraction, figuration, photography, printing and collage. This approach he has termed 'post-nonrepresentational', which as Iwona Blazwick has described, 'exceeds the codified discourse of painting, breaking through the laws of a visual language censored by grammar and semantics, as a kind of social and political protest' (I. Blazwick, I Will Always Champion Good Painting, exh. cat., Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2006, p. 7).

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