Both known as major protagonists of a constant exploration of the process of painting, Albert Oehlen and Julian Schnabel deeply influenced and defined the art field since the 1980s, provoking a departure from painting as conventionally understood. For the first time, Galerie Max Hetzler presents a duo exhibition of these artist companions and friends, focussing on their recent bodies of works.
With a chromatic spectrum consisting mainly of subtle variations of grey, including highlights of green, yellow and pink, the canvas’ surface of Albert Oehlen’s latest paintings witnesses a complex and intriguing process of overpainting. The elaborated interplay of broadly applied brushstrokes and overlapping layers of paint build a dynamic impression of colour and movement. Shapes and compositional patterns are generated and often immediately dissolved during the work process, creating an intense atmosphere of a painterly landscape that emerges out of the captivating pictorial depth.
Alongside these paintings, several works on paper allow an inside into this particular part of Oehlen's multifaceted oeuvre. A recurring motif in the artist's work, the tree appears as the central topic of this group of works. It serves as a simple element which gives the artist the liberties to examine form and line making. Black shapes, ink and pencil lines, mere silhouettes of a leafless tree, structure the paper. Even though the affinity and interaction is clearly visible, Oehlen's works on paper distinguish themselves from his paintings, marking an independent category and a kind of distillation of his painterly work.
The exhibited series of new works by Julian Schnabel consists of six paintings made from material that was used to cover an outdoor market in Mexico. A vibrant pink dominates the background, while fir green and dark purple brushstrokes delineate different compositional elements on the surface. The works are characterised by a formal unity as each of them is populated by variations of lines and organic shapes. The distinctively individual, yet interweaving forms evoke landscapes, flowers and figures. While bearing a strong representative potential, each painting still triggers the viewer’s imagination. As a whole, the series constitutes a gestural and poetic field that is reinforced by the sheer physicality of the found fabric.
Schnabel considers found materials, their physical characteristics as well as history essential components of his painterly compositions. In the present series, the linen pieces are marked by stains, stitches, holes and ripples that testify to their previous use as covers for fruit and vegetable stands in the market of Zihuatanejo.
Completing this duo exhibition, two works depict portraits of Albert Oehlen and Julian Schnabel, painted by the respective other. Schnabel realised his portrait of Oehlen in 1997 as part of his series of resin portraits, while Oehlen's portrait of Schnabel was created just recently in 2018. Each painting clearly bears the painterly gestures of its particular period in the artist's career while emphasising the special relationship the two painters share.
At the same time, Galerie Max Hetzler inaugurates the first solo exhibition with new paintings by Ron Gorchov in Bleibtreustraße 45.