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Albert Oehlen - Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Albert Oehlen, 55, enjoys a famous reputation. His paintings are in the best auctions and the prestigious Taschen published recently a luxury monograph to his glory. He said there is "abstract painter living most inventive" today - which is no small praise. It belongs to the second generation of German painters after the war. The first was that of very large, Baselitz, Polke and Richter. Polke is Professor of Oehlen at Hamburg in the late 1970s. His biography is full of this kind of details. 1972, he met Jörg Immendorff. In Hamburg in 1977, he met Martin Kippenberger, with whom, a decade later, he moved to Seville, the time of a year of painting together. However Immendorff Kippenberger and have become historical figures, the first for his vehement political painting, the other for pushing the eclectic styles and references to its height - which makes him one of the heroes of post-modernism.  The latter term is appropriate to Albert Oehlen, like his brother Markus, also a painter. He accepted without hesitation. His recent paintings, he said, "similar to action painting and are not. They could not have been done forty years ago. Why? Because they do not understand without the memory of minimalism, which came after the action painting. The reports out of season, "is what interests me," he said, ruling out any interpretation or psychological biography. A recurring word in his remarks, "painting". "That's what I love painting in oil, what I liked from the beginning." The idea, if hackneyed in France, the "death of painting", the revolt: "This is absolutely false. There are always new things to find." To prove his exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris confronts forty works of painting of the 1980s a series of 2008 Fingermalerei, finger paints. It responds to a "general idea": "Working with elements from the publicity." Where appropriate, these images have been stuck on the white canvas or transferred by printing. Oehlen and then painted these images with his hands to be as close as possible to the paint. "The first time is crucial. In proportion as that in savagery and cowardice. If it's a bad day, you can see it quickly." Alone, without an assistant, he works well over three or four canvases simultaneously, all large format. The presence of posters reminiscent of early paintings of Rauschenberg's combines of the 1950s. The digital sketches evoke Twombly. So many American references qu'Oehlen acknowledges having been important to him. But he holds back in the history of painting, less sensitive to the critical significance of these artists. In this, it is logical with himself and with his work, he considers "art for art". The expression is correct, including its limitations. Oehlen plays chromatic effects and heterogeneity with stylistic skill. He skillfully combines parts photographic figurative and gestural choreography in loops and scratches. The large canvases in obviously increases the visual effectiveness. Remains a painting that was intended as histories of painting and pictorial processes retreats into a confined space. She can seduce a moment, but is not meaningful or emotions.

"Albert Oehlen Reality-abstract" at the Museum of Modern Art in the City of Paris, 11 Avenue du President Wilson, Paris 16e. From Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Until January 3, 2010

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