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Ziggy Stargast

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oil and inkjet print on canvas
133 7/8 x 126 x 1 3/4 in. (340.04 x 320.04 x 4.45 cm)

About This Artwork

Albert Oehlen exaggerates and distorts the customs of abstract painting, breaking rules as a way to critique traditions based on taste and conventions of art history. His paintings are steeped in an aesthetic of extravagance and indulgence, often containing jarring color combinations and clashing techniques. These accumulative gestures can be tempting metaphors for the immensity of an ever-expanding visual culture, and the human need to seek order where it may or may not exist. Oehlen’s paintings are always on the edge of containment, often spiraling into dizzying distortions and disarray.

In Ziggy Stargast, Oehlen pays homage to musician David Bowie, who used his lavish alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, to examine the power—and the destructive nature—of rock and roll. By channeling the superstar, he draws attention both to the excesses of painting and to the detritus of contemporary popular culture. Combining computergenerated and gestural marks, Oehlen prods at the very idea of the artist’s hand and supposed creative genius.