February 16, 2023

The German contemporary artist Markus Oehlen was born in 1956 in Krefeld. He studied at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf, where he was taught by Alfonso Hüppi. His career started during the period of neo-expressionism, which took place in Germany under the term ‘Neue Wilde’, a reference to French Fauvism of the early 20th century. He was part of this together with his brother Albert Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger, Markus Lüpertz,… Their aim was to bring back the spontaneity of painting in response to minimalism. But this ‘chaos’ was also pursued in a broader sense, there was a close connection with the Punk scene that was created at the same time. Markus Oehlen was even drummer in one of the first German punk rock bands ‘Mittagspause’. His artworks, both paintings and sculptures, bear witness to a continuous search for innovation. Inspired by Op Art and fascinated by ontology and the working methods of different media. A digital influence is clearly noticeable in his later painting, precisely because he makes use of it. Due to a back injury, he can no longer paint in his studio and found the replacement by digital tools. This testifies not only to his dedication as an artist, but also to the awareness of the postmodern era of which he is a part. His works are built up in layers, consisting of individual elements that he rearranges into a new totality. The striped motif that can often be found both under and on top of other elements provides a sense of depth and movement.