The paintings of Albert Oehlen live by audacious strategies, by questioning the image and the rules of abstraction, and by an openness and beauty often reached through the unlikeliest of means.
In this expansive monograph, we meet the full range of Oehlen’s artistic thoughts and approaches: paintings that integrate mirrors, paintings that are executed strictly in primary colors or only in gray, heavily pixelated paintings produced with the help of one of the first personal computers. We find collaged fragments of garish poster ads on canvases that transforming screaming slogans into abstract elements, charcoal drawings the size of a wall, finger paintings, and paintings in which black treelike silhouettes contort themselves into a lexicon of abstract forms. Throughout, Oehlen transforms the conceptual into the compositional, at once invigorating and challenging the viewer.
Revising and updating TASCHEN’s previous Collector’s Edition, this revelatory survey explores Oehlen’s trajectory from his early days up to the present. It features more than 400 paintings as well as insightful commentaries and interviews, covering Oehlen’s different work stages and approaches. Roberto Ohrt’s essay takes us back to the special vibe of the early 1980s where Oehlen worked alongside Kippenberger, Büttner, and others, part of a scene that painted quickly and close to the pulse of time. Oehlen discusses his computer paintings with John Corbett, and follows up on his more recent work, his thoughts on art, and his day in the studio in a lengthy conversation with Alexander Klar. Together with a collection of shorter texts and statements, this brings us close to the ideas of an artist who has been dubbed “the most resourceful abstract painter alive.”