ALBERT OEHLEN, JULIAN SCHNABEL et al.
Energetic Gestures (group show) offline
20 October – 6 November 2022
Works by Albert Oehlen and Julian Schnabel are included in the group exhibition Energetic Gestures, on view at the Kunstsaele Berlin from 20 October until 6 November 2022. Curated by Philipp Bollmann, the show examines the concept and significance of ‘power’ in art. Here, we encounter works whose creative use of powerful gestures often transcends the category of stylistic element and becomes the content itself.
Albert Oehlen (solo show)
Friedrichs Foundation, Weidingen
27 August – 17 December 2023
When Albert Oehlen set out as a painter in the late 1970s, it was a time out of joint. Given German history, terrorism, 'No Future,' and Nineteen-Eighty-Four as well as the permanent threat of all-out nuclear war, painting could not pretend that the world was safe and sound. As the world shattered, so did painting. As all symbols, signs, and means were damaged and devoid of meaning, he unmasked painting in all its dubiousness. How is one to tell authentic gesture from blunt reproduction, genuine emotion from a disillusioned readymade copy? Oehlen accepts the shattering and transforms it into the basis of his painting. He invents an overtly fragmented image, which is as disoriented as the reality, in which it partakes. Traces, stimuli, and after-images of reality flash stroboscopically across his canvases. It is through this attitude that he has achieved an exceptional degree of painterly liberty, With each new image, he updates and renews the possibilities and impossibilities of painting, thereby granting an appropriate form to a diffuse reality.
For the first time, Albert Oehlen has created an expansive all-over installation, spanning the entirety of the Friedrichs Foundation’s exhibition hall, into which 12 paintings have been playfully integrated.
Ömega Man, 2023 (outdoor sculpture)
Stiftung zur Förderung Zeitgenössischer Kunst in Weidingen / Rodenhof
On view from 15 July 2023
Albert Oehlen’s monumental sculpture Ömega Man, 2023, is now on view to the public in Weidingen, where it emerges from the vast landscape of the Südeifel. Its simplified form and slightly raised steel bars, recessed into their concrete casting, evoke the lightness of a drawing. Here, the persistent importance of the line in Oehlen’s work becomes evident, appearing simultaneously curved and controlled. In this work, the artist uses elements which are both abstract and figurative to critically examine the history and conventions of contemporary art, all the while continuing to acknowledge the importance of classical models. Massive yet fragile in its isolation, Oehlen's Ömega Man appears like a monument from the future. Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, is here written with an umlaut, thereby referring to the artist’s own name.
Stiftung zur Förderung Zeitgenössischer Kunst in Weidingen
Versions of Chuck, Revisited (solo show)
Kunstmuseum Schloss Derneburg
21 October 2022 – 16 April 2023
On the occasion of the museum’s 15-year anniversary, eight monumental paintings by Julian Schnabel, first included in the Hall Art Foundation’s inaugural show at Schloss Derneburg in 2007, are on view until 16 April 2023. The subject of the paintings is a figure called Chuck – a surfer friend of the artist. Each painting depicts Chuck in various poses, centrally positioned within the canvas. While Chuck’s body is rendered in brushy and abstracted red marks, his head and facial features are precisely drawn, topped with a crown of yellow, blond hair and surrounded by a blue orb. Recalling Christian icons, Chuck takes on the appearance of an angel or saint. The artist, who began surfing as a teen, describes the act of surfing as the only physical activity that comes close to the sublime feeling of painting.
Kunstmuseum Schloss Derneburg – Hall Art Foundation
ALBERT OEHLEN et al.
Space for Imaginative Actions (group show)
8 May 2022 – 31 January 2024
Works by Albert Oehlen are now represented at the group exhibition Space for Imaginative Actions at Kunstmuseum Bonn. The exhibition celebrated the museum’s thirtieth anniversary and brings together monographic and thematic works from more than forty artists.
The Painter, a film by Albert Oehlen, Oliver Hirschbiegel and Ben Becker
Under the direction of Oliver Hirschbiegel, actor Ben Becker on screen impersonates the contemporary painter Albert Oehlen and re-creates a painting that Oehlen himself and in parallel is creating step by step in the background, with the actor improvising the process in front of the camera. The finished on-screen painting is an original “Oehlen” on which the artist himself never laid hands. The off screen blueprint painting was destroyed after principal shooting had finished.
Originally planned to be a performative statement the projects developed into a fully fledged feature film of 92 minutes, crossing formal boundaries and questioning the meaning of the creative process and the struggle for authenticity on various levels.
The Painter follows the artist / actor as he is struggling and suffering along this process with us watching in joyful despair and what might happen next until the white canvas has turned into a finished painting.
The outcome is a one-man rollercoaster that appears to be a documentary but in fact is a staged and guided improvisation with the “real” process happening behind the camera. The Painter is a constant flow of the artist’s journey with elements of farce and comedy topped with emotional moments of truth...in front of and behind the camera and leaving it up to us to decide what is real and/or authentic.
Watch the trailer here.
The Collector's Edition (publication)
Published by: TASCHEN
The Collector's Edition of Julian Schnabel's monograph by Taschen is now available. Made in close collaboration with the artist, this oversized limited-edition book is the first to feature his work across all media. Each copy is numbered and signed by the artist.
Get your copy here.