Albert Oehlen - Galerie Max Hetzler
installation view

HETZLER MARFA is pleased to present sculptures and works on paper by Albert Oehlen, as the inaugural show of the new exhibition space.

One of the most respected and internationally recognised German artists working today, Albert Oehlen has influenced a generation of younger artists worldwide. Known mostly through painting and works on paper, here we see the artist working in sculpture for the first time since the 1980s, when he produced a small body of work in wood. Oehlen has been questioning the methods and means of art since this time, raising a sense of awareness for its methods, which he aims to reinvent and to reshape, always in opposition to traditional hierarchies.

The new sculptures, made of wood, metal, plaster, papier-mâché and fabric have the look of hybrid creatures – somewhere between bodies and trees. Placed in the space on plinths, or directly on the floor, they are reminiscent of the shapes which have been seen in Albert Oehlen’s paintings in recent years. The vocabulary which we know from his Baumbilder (Tree Paintings) and Ö-Norm works, translates into the three-dimensional with seeming ease and readability. The simple materiality of their components which include everyday objects such as pipes, plaster and wires, as well as their white colour, demands a simple presentation. Three works are presented directly on the floor, whilst a smaller sculpture is placed on a plinth, making it easier to view the work, rather than acting as a pedestal.

Additionally, six works in ink, graphite and collage on paper reference the sculptures and are in direct correlation. In the Ö-Norm and Ö-Man ‘sculpture drawings’, we are reminded of the often-eccentric lines found in the artist’s Tree Paintings. The continued importance of the line in Oehlen’s oeuvre can be traced throughout all the works, appearing at once curvy and controlled, freehand and stencilled. The artist has repeatedly produced bodies of work that utilise the methods and aesthetics of collage, by combining such materials as advertising posters or printed fabric, with transparent veils of overpainting. Four of the six works on paper incorporate cut-out images and fragments. In this way, the new works remix motifs and techniques from the artist’s iconoclastic practice, whilst also enriching the recent bodies of work with the sculptures.

HETZLER MARFA is a new exhibition space open since 26 May 2022. The programme features an annual exhibition alongside artist residencies. The space is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm, and by appointment. It is closed in August and will reopen in September 2022.

Albert Oehlen (*1954, Krefeld), lives and works in Switzerland. He has been exhibiting regularly at Galerie Max Hetzler since 1981. Oehlen’s work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in international institutions, such as the Sprengel Museum Hannover (duo show with Carroll Dunham, 2020); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2019–2020); Aïshti Foundation, Beirut (2018–2019); Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2018–2019); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana (2017); The Cleveland Museum of Art and Guggenheim, Bilbao (2016); New Museum, New York (2015); Kunsthalle Zürich (2015); Museum Wiesbaden (2014); mumok, Vienna (2013); Kunstmuseum Bonn (2012); Carré d’Art de Nîmes (2011); Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (2009); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (2005); Kunsthalle Nürnberg (2005); Musée Cantonal Des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2004); Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca (2004); and Secession, Vienna (2004), among others.

Oehlen’s work is in the collections of The Broad, Los Angeles; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Cleveland Museum of Art; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MUDAM, Luxembourg; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain Strasbourg; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris; Museum Brandhorst, Munich; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art – MOCA, Los Angeles; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; Tate, London; and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, among others.

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