Albert Oehlen: Spiegelbilder

Albert Oehlen Galerie Max Hetzler

Bringing together singular paintings from a significant early series in Albert Oehlen’s oeuvre, this will be the first exhibition dedicated to the Spiegelbilder (‘Mirror Paintings’) in the UK. The exhibition coincides with a major solo show of the artist’s work at the Serpentine Gallery, London, which opens on 2 October 2019.

Spanning eight years, from 1982 – 1990, the Spiegelbilder series straddles a decisive period for the artist, during which he moved from the crude figuration and “bad painting” of the late 1970s and early 80s, towards non-objective painting in the late 1980s. Through the Spiegelbilder, Oehlen cemented his reputation for subverting painting conventions.

“This mirror idea allowed me to make an ‘original’ invention, but one that is bearable because it is so hackneyed.” –– Albert Oehlen

One of Oehlen’s earliest bodies of work, the Spiegelbilder are distinguished by actual pieces of mirror collaged onto the surface of the canvas, highlighting the artist’s unconventional approach to painting from the outset. Although visually distinct, there is an attitude and approach in these paintings towards colour, light, scale and line that carries through later series. Belonging to the Spiegelbilder are some of Oehlen’s first self-portraits, a primary example of which will also be exhibited.

Many of the works in the series depict domestic interiors and politically-charged exteriors in a palette of muted colours. Through the incorporation of social and political spaces such as museums, staircases and brick walls as barrier motifs, Oehlen demonstrates his ability to turn controversy into cliché.

Outsmarting painted pictorial reality with actual mirrored reality, the Spiegelbilder redefine the limits of the medium, drawing us in physically through their reflective qualities. Ambiguous in their presentation of socio-political spaces, the works provide early insight into Albert Oehlen’s idiosyncratic approach to painting through an ever-evolving style and technique.

Duration 26 September 2019 - 16 November 2019
Times Tuesday–Friday 10am–6pm Saturday 11am–5pm
Cost Free
Venue Galerie Max Hetzler
Address 41 Dover Street, London, W1S 4NS
Contact 442076297733 / /