Albert Oehlen

b. 1954, Krefeld, Germany. Lives and works in Switzerland


Albert Oehlen
Albert Oehlen, Nr 9, 2007 and Untitled (9 1/2 Weeks), 1995, installation view, Painting from the Zabludowicz Collection, 2013 at Zabludowicz Collection, London. Photo: Tim Bowditch


Albert Oehlen has been a key figure in contemporary painting since the 1980s. Over the past few decades, he has consistently questioned and played with the conventions of the medium. His works incorporate techniques ranging from oil painting to spray paint, digital printing and collage. In recent years Oehlen has developed techniques ranging from frequently rotating his canvases during their making to projecting feature films onto his finished works. Their exceptional energy conveys Oehlen's questioning attitude towards the practice and meaning of image making today.

In Oehlen's paintings, each line has a meaning and a role, which convey the artist's attitude. They require the bodily presence of the viewer and a careful kind of looking in order for the work to make sense. Oehlen's Untitled (9 ½ Weeks) consists of the Hollywood erotic drama projected over one of his own paintings. It stages a competition between the forces of painting and those of film. The confines of these two disciplines bleed into one another, and the winner remains undecided. As Oehlen describes, 'you want to see the movie and you forget about the painting but actually you stare at my painting for an hour and a half and it is burned into your eyes.'