Albert Oehlen

Sep 25 – Oct 23, 2004

Galeria Fortes Vilaça

In Galeria 2, Galeria Fortes Vilaça presents an exhibition by the German painter Albert Oehlen, one of the featured artists in the 26th São Paulo Biennial. This is the artist's first show in Brazil.

Albert Oehlen, a key international figure in contemporary painting since the 1980s, has collaborated extensively with the celebrated artist Martin Kippenberger. The two artists are the most influential of their generation in Germany. Oehlen constantly reinvents his own painting, using strangeness and the assimilation of disparate elements as a strategy in the construction of his images. His works try to destabilize our gaze, distorting and reprocessing the tradition of abstract painting in an aesthetic of excess, superimpositions, and chaos.

Three paintings in the exhibition explore the radical use of color and of computer-generated images in a complex organization. Gebräu, the largest of these three works, is a fast-paced accumulation of pixilated lines, graffiti, and acid colors. In Leuchten, masses of brown, green, and white erupt in a checkered geometric pattern, in a game of contrasts between smooth surfaces and textures laden with heavy brushstrokes.

Two other paintings in the exhibition, Downer and Idol II, are different in nature, exploring with a dense, dark palette the simultaneity of quasi-figurative and purely pictorial elements. A counterpoint is established here with the more colorful paintings, in a dynamic of acceleration and deceleration between the exhibited works.

Albert Oehlen was born in Krefeld in 1954 and since the 1980's has been showing his work internationally. Recent exhibitions include the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Fondation Beyeler and Kunstalle Basel, Switzerland; and the Hamburger Banhoff, Berlin. The Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne has just held an extensive retrospective of the artist's work: Peintures/Malerei 1980-2004.