albert oehlen

Daniel Richter, assistant to Albert Oehlen
Erfindung des guten Irrtums, 2013
Oil on canvas
Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, © Bildrecht, Wien 2013
Photo: Jochen Littkemann, Berlin

Artists’ assistants are omnipresent in the art business. Yet, as a rule, they are all but invisible. Ever nameless they disappear from view in artists’ studios; their work is absorbed into their employers’ production and their independent creative participation in the works is subsumed by the artistic “brand” they have helped to form. However, things do seem to be changing. Not only has “Artist’s Assistant” become a recognized occupation, but assistants are starting to emerge from their anonymity and raising their profiles as artists in their own right. Hans-Jürgen Hafner sketches out the situation.

 "Untitled", 2012; Oil, paper on canvas, 230 x 180 cm

"Untitled", 2012; Oil, paper on canvas, 230 x 180 cm; © Albert Oehlen, Courtesy Gagosian Gallery; Photo: Lothar Schnepf

Like almost no other artist, Albert Oehlen subjects painting to a stress test. For over 30 years he’s been tinkering with the medium’s source code: colour and paint application, lines and layers, titles and triumphs, disappointments and expectations. These elements are all played against one another and caught off guard. Daniel Baumann leads us through the work.