- Albert Oehlen
- I 28
- signed and dated 2011 on the reverse
- printed paper collage on canvas
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013
Indeed, the art historical reference points that Oehlen works with are especially rich in this body of work - drawing on Oehlen’s early German compatriors, Hannah Höch and Kurt Schwitters, they take in Matisse’s iconic cut outs as much as they obliquely reference the layered effects of Richter’s squeegee paintings. Yet in all this, it is Warhol that shines through as Oehlen’s main artistic conspirator. Much has been written on the influence of Pop art on Oehlen, Kippenberger and their German forefathers, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, yet throughout the work of the German school it remains an undercurrent, a conceptual underpinning. By placing it centre stage with all its vulgar aggression, replete with sale discounts, models and logos, Oehlen proudly releases it from the shadows of German art.
I 28 marks the culmination of a seminal body of work that had its genesis in the Computer Paintings started by Oehlen in the early 1990s. At the forefront of this two-decade-long enquiry was an interest in the intersection between technology and painting. For Oehlen, it was quest to resurrect the canvas in a digital age. Born out of the digital aesthetic of the Computer Paintings, these works are also a distillation of an intermediary body of work that Oehlen first showed at Thomas Dane Gallery in 2008. Meshed advertising imagery with his trademark overpainting, Oehlen noted before that show that he “wanted to do something with advertising images, which was the start of the whole project, but failed” (Albert Oehlen cited in: Press Release, London, Thomas Dane Gallery, Albert Oehlen, 29 February 2008, online). If Oehlen viewed his 2008 show as a successful failure, these collages must be viewed as triumph in their realisation of his previous aims.
In I 28, Oehlen has finally freed collage from the constraints of paint found in his earlier work, instead focusing on the layering, and formal aspects of pure collage. It is collage at its most painterly and figuration at its most abstract. It is collage resurrected for the digital age.