Albert Oehlen - Surpentine gallery
With my classmates and course leader, I went to Hyde Park to see ongoing exhibitions. The first gallery I visited was Surpentine. There was an exhibition of Albert Oehlen, who's from Germany. Since last year, I mainly focus on seeing what artists do for accidental mark-making. I think painting randomly is one of the fascinating things to see for beholders. To be honest, I don't know what this painter does, what he wants to convert meaning or story by painting. I just see and record the marks as a reference for my future. There were many works of him, but some of them were not that interesting. What I mainly invest time to see was the combination of his layering and mark-making. That is, brushstroke could become one of the layers that pile up. Eventually, where he did this action a lot would be dense. In this way, mark-making and layering could be linked and merged. For me, it seems that he tries to express his unconscious mind. I can guess it from his painting. He repetitively painted tiny faces and big ones. Sometimes he just let the oil flow by holding them on the brush. Otherwise, he just painted colour line or splattered oil. This kind of thing inspired me because I wanted to enjoy and feel the pleasure of painting. Likewise, he might have gotten some interest in this, I guess. I think that an artist's thoughts should be revealed, disclosed by her or his works, which means it's an artist's work that shows the artist.
While looking at his works, I was wondering why he put two artworks together to be seen as one work. So I asked gallery people why he would do that. It was because he wanted to test how it would be if things were together. Also, he was testing if he could have organized the relationship between paintings and the gallery space. That means a method of the display can be different whenever his solo exhibition takes place. The thing he interpreted with this gallery was based on four windows. For me, that sort of thought was surprising and slightly broke my thoughts of how works should be exhibited. As I was struggling with the way how to present my unstretched paintings, his inventive artistic approaches were a good reference for me. However, I think my art has more potential. Also, although my paintings are surrealistic, I just disliked the term 'surrealistic,' ' unconscious,' etc. He admires paintings made by Surrealism, it, therefore, becomes a methodology or attitude to the world and to paintings. "Surrealism is not a style, nor is it a technique. There was no veto, no prescription, no aesthetic rule. When Oehlen says he sees himself in the tradition of Surrealism, it is not just because of a history that he mines, but because it questioned the nature of the real, which must include more than the immediate material world. Painting has extensive means of divesting reality of its verisimilitude." These quotes encourage me to keep doing what I like!