The artist, musician and sculptor Markus Oehlen shows his artistic genius in this exhibition with 8 new works that draws the beholder into a visual universe that balances on the boarder between the figurative and the non-figurative. Oehlen has a strong connection to Denmark and the Asbæk family, where he back in 2001 and again in 2008 exhibited his works at Asbæk’s Centro Cultural Andratx – CCA and we are proud to be part of showing his newest works here in Copenhagen.
Oehlen studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf between 1976-1982, during which time he worked through the wild 1980’s and played in punk bands and became one of the leading representatives of the ”Neue Wilde”, alongside artists like Albert Oehlen (brother), Martin Kippenberger, Werner Büttner and Walter Dahn. The art, fashion, music, literature, film and theatre of this generation created a new tendency that favoured the punk style in opposition to the avant-garde, minimalistic and conceptual art.
Oehlen has a recognisable and vibrant palette. He works with amorphous shapes that move freely – even anarchistic, between each other. Places in front of Oehlen’s works, the beholder is met by a clear reference to the Op Art style. The painting plays tricks on our consciousness – they mine the collage’s hybrid language in the many paint layers and strong colour compositions. Pop- and surrealistic elements are combined and overlaid into a complex network, where the use of stabilizing grids and a free use of mild colouring and 3D-effects communicate light, depth and rhythm.
Oehlen works with a figurative point of origin that lurks behind the abstract expression, where the flickering veil by the vibrant lines creates a tension field between concrete and abstract form. Especially the faces are brought into focus in several of the works, where the facial expressions and mimics move through the landscape of the paintings. The balancing between the figurative and non-figurative should not be understood as constrained, but more as an unfolding through layers that eventually makes it possible to understand the figurative content. The forms move in and out of focus in multi-layered compositions, and the pixel like elements creates references to a digital imagery.
Markus Oehlen has since 2002 worked as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. His works have previously been exhibited amongst others by: Gerhardsen Gerner; Galerís Juana de Aizpuru; Galerie Bärbel Grässlin; Sabine Knust; Suzanne Tarasiève Galerie; Kunsthalle Gießen; Frieder Burda museet; Centro Cultural Andratx; ZKM; Ursula Blickle Foundation; Kunstverein Frankfurt; Haus der Kunst I München; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.