Albert Oehlen, Rock, 2009, oil, paper on canvas, 3 parts, overall 280 x 810 cm, two parts 280 x 230 cm each, one part 105 x 350 cm
31 JULY – 28 AUGUST 2016
Known for his continuous and unconventional questioning of the medium painting – its traditions, means and limits – Albert Oehlen develops new forms of expression and steadily extends his own artistic vocabulary. The exhibition presents Oehlen's painting Rock, created in 2009. The work consists of two canvases which are connected by a third, narrower canvas and thus build a triptych. Abstract brushstrokes and splashes of paint overlay paper cut-outs that were glued onto the canvas. The face of a woman with closed eyes floats within a colour gradient which ranges along all three parts of the work. Across the entire painting one can read the sentence “Help I'm a rock”, both a reference to the eponymous song by Frank Zappa's The Mothers of Invention as well as a combination of the song titles “Help!” by the Beatles and “I'm a rock” by Simon & Garfunkel. Oehlen's deep interest in music, especially pop music, becomes regularly apparent in his works. The tension between pop music which is not least fed on the connection of sound and image, forms a provocative element that challenges the medium painting in its position as an epitome of high culture. The song, as a product of this genre, becomes the subject of Oehlen's work and is transferred to the spatial conditions of the canvas.