Albert Oehlen b. 1954 in Krefeld, Germany.
Lives and works in Spain and Cologne. Albert Oehlen has worked with Niels Borch Jensen Editions since 1996.
Albert Oehlen is first and foremost one of the leading German painters of a radical generation from the 1980s when the term 'Bad Painting' was a compliment, a movement and a clash with convention, and where the command to ‘change the material’ or medium was intended to generate insecurity in the artist – to create a loss of control and ultimately a more immediate and unrestricted relationship to art.
In Oehlen’s work, we are an important part of art history, something he comments on or reinforces in the 1998 series Martin (Kippenberger), Stefan, Asger (Jorn). Three portraits that portray an age and three artistic figures, colleagues with a major influence on the entire field of art and art history – here in a highly personal tribute. Oehlen’s art covers significant historical ground, and his works radiate the same range from classical etching to photogravure, from portraits to satire on media-generated reality. AVANTGARDE MIT ANSTAND: Wir sind Kreativ decorates the front page of a printed pamphlet with a pretty harmless person wearing a skull mask (Wir sind Kreativ, 2000). Oehlen takes his artistic origins seriously – and pays due homage to them – whereas self-glorifying self-perception in art is exposed as pathetic. Here the avantgarde reveals itself to be everything an artist like Oehlen doesn’t want to be: decent.