Local Release

(maxhetzler Gallerie) The Painter , a film by Albert Oehlen, Oliver Hirschbiegel and Ben Becker


The Painter , a film by Albert Oehlen, Oliver Hirschbiegel and Ben Becker

© 2020 by Albert Oehlen, Oliver Hirschbiegel and Ben Becker
© 2020 by Albert Oehlen, Oliver Hirschbiegel and Ben Becker

Under the direction of Oliver Hirschbiegel, actor Ben Becker on screen impersonates the contemporary painter Albert Oehlen and re-creates a painting that Oehlen himself and in parallel is creating step by step in the background, with the actor improvising the process in front of the camera . The finished on-screen painting is an original “Oehlen” on which the artist himself never laid hands. The off screen blueprint painting was destroyed after principal shooting had finished.

Originally planned to be a performative statement the projects developed into a fully fledged feature film of 92 minutes, crossing formal boundaries and questioning the meaning of the creative process and the struggle for authenticity on various levels.

The painterfollows the artist / actor as he is struggling and suffering along this process with us watching in joyful despair and what might happen next until the white canvas has turned into a finished painting.

The outcome is a one-man rollercoaster that appears to be a documentary but in fact is a staged and guided improvisation with the “real” process happening behind the camera. The painter is a constant flow of the artist's journey with elements of farce and comedy topped with emotional moments of truth ... in front of and behind the camera and leaving it up to us to decide what is real and / or authentic.



Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: This is the Night Mail, selected by Ida Ekblad
Whitechapel Gallery, London
27 August 2021 - 2 January 2022

Installation view: Whitechapel, London, 2021, courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery, photo: Stephen White
Installation view: Whitechapel, London, 2021, courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery, photo: Stephen White

The dreams, nightmares and twilight landscapes of 35 international artists are brought together in This is the Night Mail , an artist-curated display by Ida Ekblad. Drawing from the personal collections of Christen Sveaas and that of the Christen Sveaas Art Foundation, the exhibition creates a densely-packed mise-en-scene featuring painting, photography, sculpture and drawings.

This is the Night Mailis the first line of WH Auden's 1936 poem describing a train journey across a sleeping Britain as it carries the nation's mail. It accompanied a documentary film commissioned by the General Post Office with a propulsive soundtrack by a young Benjamin Britten. The slumbering mystery of Auden's verse inspired Ekblad's selection of works in the Collection, which the artist arranges across three imagined train compartments.

Ekblad is renowned for her polychromatic, gestural paintings that often expand into immersive environments. Coming from the land of both the longest and the shortest night, she shares a preoccupation with many artists featured in the exhibition, using the nocturne as subject.

The exhibition explores how moonlit interiors, land and seascapes form the backdrop for scenes of dream or nightmare, drama and transgression. Ekblad's selection includes late 19th and 20th century Norwegian artists whose shimmering and mysterious canvases will be new to British audiences. Ekblad also selects postwar and contemporary artists whose works explore nighttime encounters, escapism and terrors. Their work features alongside beautifully-crafted antique silver and glass objects which Norwegian collector Christen Sveaas has been acquiring for over 40 years. Works by Albert Oehlen and Sigmar Polke are included.

This is the Night Mailis the first in a series of four artist-curated displays borrowing from the Christen Sveaas Art Foundation. Taking place over the course of a year, the exhibitions function as a platform for creative and curatorial experimentation and invite the public to engage with works rarely on public view. Each display in the series is also accompanied by a new collectible publication devised by the guest selector and co-published by the Foundation and Whitechapel Gallery.

Ida Ekblad contributed a playlist to The Commuter Club platform to accompany this exhibition. Each of the tracks in this playlist has played an inspirational role in Ida's exhibition reflecting her fascination with the nocturne.


Albert Oehlen x Sven-Åke Johansson: Rhythm Ace & Slingerland

Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin is pleased to announce Rhythm Ace & Slingerland , which was recorded during a concert conceived by Albert Oehlen with percussionist Sven-Åke Johansson at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg in May 2019.

This new album, a co-production by NI VU NI CONNU and Galerie Max Hetzler, with liner notes by Max Dax is one of numerous collaborations between longstanding friends Oehlen and Johansson, following from their 2003 album Shotgun Wedding , also featuring Mayo Thompson of Red Krayola. This album explores how art infuences music and vice versa - a question often explored in Oehlen's work.

The idea originated from Johansson's visit to the artist's studio in 2018. Oehlen showed the drummer his collection of rhythm machines, American and Japanese, from the 1960s onwards. Oehlen explains “I collect old drum machines because I find the contradiction fascinating that you collect devices that can do as little as possible. A drum machine is more attractive to me the more limited it is. "

Johansson responds to Oehlen's musings and collection by creating the performance for Rhythm Ace & Slingerland . Johansson says of the performance“ the situation was an extension of my being and also that of this device. It is a win for both: man and machine. So the experiment was successful. "


Enjoy - the mumok Collection in Change (group show)
mumok, Vienna
19 June 2021 - 18 April 2022

Installation view: mumok, Vienna, photo: Klaus Pichler, © mumok
Installation view: mumok, Vienna, photo: Klaus Pichler, © mumok

Ten years after joining the museum, Karola Kraus is organizing with her team a collection presentation that includes central donations and acquisitions from the past decade. The selected works range from classical modernism to the present day, following the path of the collection's development. Twenty years after mumok opened in Vienna's MuseumsQuartier, and forty years after the founding of the Austrian Ludwig Foundation, this exhibition is both a survey of the past and a glimpse ahead to the future. As the past years are reviewed, new perspectives are proposed as basis for the museum's future collection and exhibition activities. The collection exhibition Enjoysets out to convey the intertwining of past and present as a living process of continual reassessment and revaluation that reflects ever changing socio-political, socio-cultural, and philosophical developments and discourses. The main themes cut across time and media: the depiction of life in society, the human body, and nature, as well as migration and the drawing of boundaries.



Albert Oehlen - “big paintings by me with small paintings by others”
MASI, Lugano
5 September 2021 - 20 February 2022

Installation view: MASI, Lugano, 2021
Installation view: MASI, Lugano, 2021

From 5 September 2021 to 20 February 2022, Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI) present the exhibition titled Albert Oehlen - “big paintings by me with small paintings by others” . For this project Albert Oehlen is at the same time an artist, a curator and a collector. Iconic works embodying different phases of his painting career will be displayed alongside a selection of more than thirty international artists belonging to his private collection.

It is always very interesting when artists collect art, and this is particularly true in the case of a reserved, elusive and sometimes even cryptic artist like Albert Oehlen. This is the first time that masterpieces by Oehlen are exhibited alongside works from his private art collection in such an extensive form and in a display conceived by the artist himself in partnership with MASI. This project not only offers surprising insights into his work, but also allows visitors to discover, or rediscover, a series of exceptional artists. The core group of works, representing the essence of Oehlen's art, and the extraordinary chance to admire a part of his private collection in a museum, will enable visitors to engage with the depth and breadth of his pictorial exploration. For many years Oehlen has been expanding his collection with works by artists with whom he feels a connection, not in terms of liking, but because they address ideas - often associated with the concept of painting - that are very relevant to him too. However, while all the works featured in the exhibition reveal inspiration and similarities (in some cases very evidently), we must not forget that the artist rejects all kinds of classification and rational analysis of his oeuvre. Indeed, Oehlen has always actively shunned interpretative methods that seek to define the meaning of form and content, or, more simply, rejects an approach focusing on the wish to understand art in general. Consequently, the exhibition does not aim to suggest comparisons between Oehlen's work and that of other artists or to insert his work in a “genealogy”, but rather to give visitors an exceptional glimpse into his private collection and allow them to engage - perhaps for the first time - with the work of important international artists in an original and exciting narrative that recounts the history of the art of recent decades from Oehlen's personal perspective. Works by Hans Josephsohn, Albert Oehlen, Julian Schnabel and Rebecca Warren are included.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Mousse Publishing with an introduction by MASI's Director Tobia Bezzola and scientific contributions by Francesca Benini and Christian Dominguez. The catalog is available via the institution's website .


Now or Never - 50 Years LBBW Collection (group show)
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart
13 November 2021 - 20 February 2022

Thomas Struth, West Broadway, Tribeca, New York, 1978, Collection LBBW, © Thomas Struth
Thomas Struth, West Broadway, Tribeca, New York, 1978, Collection LBBW, © Thomas Struth


The LBBW art collection dates back to the year 1971. The focus of the collection was initially on art from the Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg region. At the beginning of the 1990s, the collection was expanded to include international positions. The foundation of LBBW and its development promoted the growth of the collection. “Collecting Contemporary” is the keyword today. The orientation and history of the LBBW collection show parallels to the collection of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. On the occasion of the LBBW anniversary and the long-standing cooperation with the art museum, outstanding works will be on display from all areas of the LBBW collection.


Helga de Alvear Collection (group show)
Helga de Alvear Foundation Visual Arts Center, Cáceres
26 February - 31 December 2021

Installation view: Ai Weiwei, Decending Light, 2007, Helga de Alvear Foundation Visual Arts Center, Cáceres, 2021, photo credit: Joaquin Cortés / Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear
Installation view: Ai Weiwei, Decending Light , 2007, Helga de Alvear Foundation Visual Arts Center, Cáceres, 2021, photo credit: Joaquin Cortés / Museum of Contemporary Art Helga de Alvear

The exhibition showcases nearly 150 works from the Helga de Alvear Collection, including paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures and installations by over 100 artists across generations.

Encompassing approximately 3000 square meters of space, distributed over four levels, this exhibition manifests the museum's purpose of facilitating a plurality of art experiences.


Collaboration with "Talk About Lebanon"

Image © Albert Oehlen
Image © Albert Oehlen

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to team up with "Talk About Lebanon" in the wake of the fatal explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. The first in a series of collaborations is a T-shirt featuring a painting by Albert Oehlen from his iconic "Tree Paintings series. All proceeds from the sale will go towards the NGO" Live Love Beirut "whose mission is to provide assistance to those who cannot afford to repair their homes after the explosion.

The T-shirt can be purchased at .uk


Just don't let anything burn. New presentation of the collection (group show)
Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn
3 June 2020 - 1 July 2022

installation view: Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, 2020. Photo: David Ertl
installation view: Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, 2020. Photo: David Ertl

After the great survey of painting in the exhibition Now! Young Painting in Germany , the Kunstmuseum Bonn is now turning its attention once again to its own collection, which is being presented in a new way in its many and varied aspects, incorporating acquisitions and donations from recent years as well as permanent loans from private collections (KiCo, Mondstudio, Scharpff-Striebich, etc.).

At the same time, the re-hanging also provides a resonance space for the positions previously shown in Jetzt!, since the Kunstmuseum has defined painting as the focal point of its collection of contemporary art from the very beginning. Thus, a room with paintings from the 1980s provides a retrospective of the emphatic revitalization of painting and at the same time an outlook on current painting projects, for example Tobias Pils and his complex paintings, both reflective and intuitively developed. The spectrum ranges from Informel to Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and to Pia Fries, Christopher Wool and Thomas Huber.

Also the pictorial possibilities of photography are discussed, with new acquisitions of photographs by Heidi Specker and Viktoria Binschtok, which were previously shown in solo exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum, and photographs by Claudia Fährenkemper and Hartmut Neumann, who donated a comprehensive body of his work to the museum. The museum also received works by Harald Naegeli, who is not presented here as a sprayer, but with his Urwolken as a creator of utopian drawing spaces.

The video center is showing the film Unheil(disaster) by John Bock, acquired in 2018, which invents a medieval age full of disturbing rituals. Separate rooms are dedicated to Isa Genzken and Georg Herold, two artists who refuse to be tied down by any kind of media or content, Genzken confidently improvising, Herold with irreverent humor "Just don't scorch anything").


Writing the History of the Future (The ZKM Collection) (group show)
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe
23 February 2019 - 9 January 2022

The 30th anniversary of the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe is the occasion to retell the history of art in the 20th and 21st centuries with its collection, which is considered one of the most important media art collections in the world. With over 500 objects, the exhibition shows for the first time the diversity of the arts in media change. It includes photography, graphics, painting and sculpture as well as computer-based works, film, holography, kinetic art, op art, sound art, visual poetry and video art.

The 20th century saw a radical transformation of the image through the technical media. Beginning with the photography scandal, which consisted in the fact that images virtually create themselves, the media have "changed the overall character of art" (Walter Benjamin). Photography, film, television, video, computers and the internet have redefined the relationship between artist, work and viewer as well as our conception of creativity. The exhibition Writing the History of the Futureexemplifies the change in art in view of the changing apparatus-based production, reception and distribution technologies. It also shows how artists anticipate media and social practices that will only become a matter of course for society as a whole years later. As the title of the exhibition suggests, they write the story of the future.

With a perspective that encompasses all genres and media, the exhibition Writing the History of the Future opens up a new perspective on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries on over 6,000 square meters. This epoch of rapid technological change through electronic and digital information and communication technologies ushered in an unprecedented democratization of art and culture. Writing the History of the Futuremakes it understandable how the promise of photography to individualize the representation of the world was redeemed by the activists of video art in the 1960s. With the suddenly available video technology, they mapped worlds that were neither shown on television nor by the film industry and developed an aesthetic that still influences our visual culture today. The expansion of the technical media of the picture, from the board picture to the screen, has dissolved art in a new visual culture, merging mass culture and high culture. With the spread of computer technology in the 1950s, our ideas of creativity changed, and the automation and algorithmization of the arts began. The sign-processing apparatus provoked discussions like those that are being conducted again today with regard to artificial intelligence. Electronic media also changed the way we perceive and produce sound in the 20th century. Sounds and noises that were previously illegitimate have become a medium of visual art, sound art.

The exhibition Writing the History of the Future makes it clear how fundamentally apparatuses have changed the relationship to the work of art - both in terms of production and reception. The creation of art no longer concentrates solely on the subject of the artist, but includes various actors, be they devices or people. The development of the participatory, interactive and performative arts, from moving images to the moving viewer, has resulted in open works since the 1960s , which invite visitors to an exhibition not just to look at them, but to act.

The presentation of the collection, for which 9,500 works were selected, is characterized by its cross-genre staging. It shows the change in the genre portrait, the representation of the body, the landscape and architecture from painting to interactive computer installation. It shows the updating of the original medium of writing and art as a format of collective and individual memory under the conditions of information technology. The exhibition thus presents an art of radical contemporaneity, ie an art in which artists reflect on the present with the technical media of their time. It offers a unique opportunity, with partly extensive installations and numerous incunables of media art,

Writing the History of the Futureis not just a collection of objects, but also an assembly of subjects. Lounges invite you to sit down and share what you have seen with friends and family, in the Ackerspace interested parties meet for workshops and seminars. Experiments are carried out together in the BÄM-Lab, the ZKM's maker space.

The exhibition is an experience and thinking space in which the public is encouraged to take part in the history of the future.

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