Markus Oehlen (b. 1956, Krefeld, Germany) lives and works in Munich. Founding member of the German Neo-Expressionist movement Junge Wilde, his four decades long career has spanned across painting, sculpture, digital drawing, and music.
In the 70s and 80s, alongside his brother Albert Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger, André Butzer, and others, the Junge Wilde group worked against the purity of surface put forth by minimalism by recalling the counterculture chaos, both on and off the canvas, of the Fauves. During this time the group was involved in several punk bands, notably Mittagspause. As his career continued to develop, Oehlen probed at the very essence of art, grappling with the ontological nature of the different media and how that is communicated. Inspired by Op Art, his paintings take a distinctly geometric form that is contrasted with vicious curves, and in his latest works, interspersed with collaged photographs and digital drawings composed on an iPad.
This technique emerged because of a back injury that prevented Oehlen from painting in his studio so he perfected the digitized version proving not only his dedication to his practice but also his relentless questioning of what it means to be a painter in a Postmodern cultural landscape. Oehlen has had solo shows at Künstlerhaus Hamburg, MoMA, New York (with Georg Herold), Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo, Santander (with Albert Oehlen) Kunstsammlung Chemnitz and group shows at various museums such as Nationalgalerie Berlin or ZKM Karlsruhe.