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PRINT April 2003

’80s THEN

Albert Oehlen

ERIC BANKS: One of the things that strikes me about the way you came to artmaking is how incredibly collaborative your work was in the early ’80s.

ALBERT OEHLEN: That whole attitude came from feeling very independent, because we were opposed to the image we had of painting at the time. A big advantage for us—me, Martin [Kippenberger], my brother Markus, [Werner] Büttner, and so on—was that we didn’t know the Italian Transavanguardia artists and so forth from the beginning. They were a couple of years older than us. We heard of them when they became famous enough, as well as Schnabel and other Americans. So until then, we just saw ourselves in opposition to bourgeois art. We thought, we’re outside of this anyway, so we have to create our own scene and friendships and history.

Left to right: Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Max Hetzler, and Werner Büttner, Folkwang-Haus, Essen, 1984.


EB: I know that a lot of what you ended up doing was almost to differentiate yourself from the Neue Wilde in

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