These artists were shaped by the radical urban scenes of their youths—post-punk Berlin, Actionist Vienna, and No Wave New York—and subsequently became key progenitors of the ‘punk’ sensibility now prevalent in contemporary art. Ride the Wild will consider their shared emphasis on practical and formal dissent, inherited from their respective backgrounds and developed in ways that resonate yet remain unique. Taking a rare installation by Oehlen, Untitled (2005), as its starting point, and featuring landmark works from the 1980s to the present day, the exhibition marks the first instance Oehlen (b. 1954), West (1947–2012), and Wool (b. 1955) will be exclusively presented together.
Exclusively during Frieze week, Oehlen’s seminal installation Untitled
(2005), will be on view for the first time in the United Kingdom. This work is a replica of the artist’s bedroom in Cologne, complete with yellow wallpaper, a carpet, a bed, and a potted plant. Personal artefacts litter the space: a record player and hi-fi system with LPs sit next to a bright orange set of hot plates and a small macchinetta coffee maker. In the bed, even the artist is present; a painted self-portrait lays tucked under the covers, a phantom hand poking out from under the duvet, clutching a paintbrush. Shifting attention from painterly compositions to a space associated with their creator, the installation gives the viewer a glimpse of the artist’s life. The stacked records reflect his interest in music and a poster on the wall indicates a previous exhibition at the Secession in Vienna. Yet turning to the bed, the self-portrait inverts this scene, bringing the viewer back to the undermining forces of satire and parody ubiquitous in Oehlen’s work. This unique installation was originally exhibited at Galeria Juana de Aizpuru in Madrid and has accompanied his recent retrospectives at mumok, Vienna; the New Museum, New York; and Palazzo Grassi, Venice.