A concept by Albert Oehlen and Sven-Åke Johansson
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 influences 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.’
Rhythm Ace & Slingerland was recorded during a concert conceived by Albert Oehlen with percussionist Sven-Åke Johansson at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg in May 2019.
Produced by Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu and Galerie Max Hetzler
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One of the most respected painters today, Albert Oehlen (b. 1954) constantly questions the methods and means of painting to raise a sense of awareness of the medium, which he aims to reinvent and to reshape, always in opposition to traditional hierarchies. Albert Oehlen has been continually colliding various styles, orders or mediums since the 80’s, expanding the notion of painting to ‘what he wants to see’.
‘Albert Oehlen long ago constructed the possibility of his own painting. Yet at the beginning the road seemed not merely a narrow alley, it looked like a dead end. What then? Give up and turn back? Or take a hammer and drive a tunnel through the solid amorphous mass before him? Albert Oehlen was one of the very few to take up that hammer. And when he started he struck mighty blows. It was in materials, expression, history and genre – in everything his immediate predecessors had progressively demolished with their hammers – that Oehlen stated his determination not to give in. His possibility of painting had to be built from the foundations. No gratuitous transgressions, no irony or cynicism – even if it is true that some used these terms to disparage his efforts to be free of artistic propriety. Instead Oehlen went looking where nobody else did, plunging into the piles of detritus abandoned by the wayside of an era. Then a final task remained: that of interweaving painting as history with the position of the painter and with the society out of which both painting and painter emerge in order to reflect on it.’
A. Pontégnie, The history of abstraction seemed to be finished in Albert Oehlen, Galerie Max Hetzler and Holzwarth Publications, 2011
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