- Albert Oehlen
- La Playa Nueva
- signed and dated 02 on the reverse
- acrylic and oil on canvas
- 199.5 by 199.5cm.; 78 1/2 by 78 1/2 in.
Sale: Sotheby’s, New York, Contemporary Art Evening Auction, 13 November 2012, Lot 69
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
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NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Although Oehlen has often been associated with the Neue Wilde painters of the 1980s, the artist has explicitly denounced such a connection, and instead preferred the more conceptual approach to painting that also characterised the work of his friend Martin Kippenberger. His expansive investigations into the medium have resulted in a wide range of painterly strategies, varying from the incorporation of digitally-generated imagery to appropriated advertisements and the deliberately ‘bad’ paintings that echo Kippenberger’s interest in notions of failure. The present work is an outstanding example of the artist’s signature fusion of abstraction and figuration, in which anthropomorphic and figurative forms invoke suggestions of representation that are never really fulfilled, but remain suspended in the interstitial space between familiarity and the unknown. Oehlen typically developed these paintings by working on each canvas in sequence and observing their constituent marks for an extensive amount of time before reaching a moment of resolution.
In La Playa Nueva the flammable bursts of orange dominate the calming blue painterly marks, evoking the juxtaposition of ocean/land or even the elements: water, fire, earth and air. Herein, this breathtaking body of abstract work draws the viewer into a sensorial and dreamlike experience. The artist evokes the beauty of natural scenery with fragmented fluid brushstroke curves that harmoniously subvert compositional logic. Representing a frontier between the viewer’s reality and a swarming abstract world, is La Playa Nueva is an excellent example of Oehlen’s amalgamations of sources and painterly styles.