Albert Oehlen at Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2; until 2nd Feb 2020; free
Albert Oehlen (b. 1954, Krefeld, Germany) has been a key figure in contemporary art since the 1980s. By bringing together abstract, figurative, collaged and computer-generated elements on the canvas, he continues to explore an inventive diversity of artistic approaches. Through Expressionist brushwork, Surrealist gestures and deliberate amateurism, Oehlen engages with the history of painting, pushing its essential components of colour, gesture, motion and time to bold new extremes.
From 1978 to 1981, Oehlen studied at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg under painter Sigmar Polke. Subsequently, he quickly rose to prominence, moving between different artist groups and scenes in Berlin and Cologne. It was during this time in the 1980s that these artists sought to create works that defied categorisation and contradicted the existing artistic status quo. Oehlen’s practice has since traversed diverse movements and styles, combining narrative and abstraction, blending the handmade with the electronic and machinic in his computer or ‘bionic’ paintings, and experimenting with form, tone and texture within set, premeditated parameters in his ‘grey’ and ‘tree’ paintings.