Albert Oehlen: New Paintings

21 Mar-11 May 2024

Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill
London W1K 3QD


Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Albert Oehlen.

For his first show at the gallery in London since 2016, Oehlen continues to explore the rich possibilities and the future of painting. He riffs on fragments, forms, and entire motifs of his imagination in a manner that echoes both the sampling of a musical composition and the mechanisms of cinematography. These references are the vehicles for vivid painterly invention.

Oehlen’s images are divided, repeated, and distorted to conjure a new pictorial narrative. His original source is reimagined; it is at times decipherable, and at others annihilated. The subject of these paintings is, arguably, unimportant; it is the act of transferring images into a new state that is now significant. The result is sometimes a regular, repeated composition that follows from one section to the next. Yet in other paintings, he chooses much more irregular twists and turns, filled with different possible shapes and endings. There is no barrier between abstraction and figuration, improvisation and control, only the endless potential of the medium.

Oehlen is best known for using various modes of painting within the same canvas to disrupt the histories and conventions of modernism. Championing self-consciously amateurish “bad” painting, he infuses spontaneous and expressive gestures with Surrealist attitude, rejecting the quest for stable form and meaning. Combining graphic brushstrokes, painterly drips, unexpected colors, and contrasting textures, Oehlen tests the limits of both coherence and legibility.

New Paintings is accompanied by a catalogue which includes an essay by curator and art historian Reto Thüring.

Albert Oehlen was born in 1954 in Krefeld, Germany, and lives and works in Switzerland. Collections include Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthaus Zürich; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; Cleveland Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; the Broad, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museo Jumex, Mexico City. Exhibitions include Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy (2009); Réalité Abstraite, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009); Terpentin, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2012); Malerei, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (2013); 55th Biennale di Venezia (2013); Die 5000 Finger von Dr. Ö, Museum Wiesbaden, Germany (2014); Home and Garden, New Museum, New York (2015); An Old Painting in Spirit, Kunsthalle Zürich (2015); Behind the Image, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2017); Woods near Oehle, Cleveland Museum of Art (2018); TRANCE, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut (2018); Cows by the Water, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2018– 19); Unfertig, Lokremise Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland (2019); Serpentine Galleries, London (2019–20); Big Paintings by Me with Small Paintings by Others, Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana, Lugano, Switzerland (2021–22); and Friedrichs Foundation, Weidingen, Germany (2023).#AlbertOehlen