Cows by the Water - Albert Oehlen

Palazzo Grassi
08/04/2018 - 06/01/2019


From Sunday 8 April, 2018, to Sunday 6 January, 2019, Palazzo Grassi presents 'Cows by the Water', a personal exhibition dedicated to German artist Albert Oehlen (1954, Krefeld, Germany) and curated by Caroline Bourgeois.

The exhibition lays out a path dedicated to Albert Oehlen’s production through a selection of approximately 85 works, including some lesser-known ones, created between the 1980s and today. The works brought together come from the Pinault Collection as well as from other major private collections and international museums.

'Cows by the Water' path is not chronological but rather suggests a syncopated rhythm between various genres and periods, thereby underlining the central role played by music in the artist’s practice. Music emerges as a real metaphor of his work method, where contamination and rhythm, improvisation and repetition, density and harmony of sounds become pictorial gestures.

Albert Oehlen (1954, Krefeld, Germany) reveals himself to be a major figure of contemporary painting thanks to his artistic research in constant evolution, dedicated to experiments and to overcoming formal limits rather than to the subject represented.

The artist’s work has already be presented in exhibitions around the world, including at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana in 2017, the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2016, the New Museum in New York and at the Kunsthalle Zürich in 2015, the Kunstmuseum in Bonn in 2012 and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2009. 'Cows by the Water' in Venice is his largest monographic one in Italy to date.

For the duration of the exhibition, Albert Oehlen presents his project ‘Cofftea/Kafftee' in the atrium of Palazzo Grassi.

Also on the occasion of the exhibition, The Skateroom presents limited editions of skateboards by Albert Oehlen, available at the bookshop of Palazzo Grassi.

Listen to the playlist edited by Albert Oehlen on Spotify

The exhibition catalogue is in three languages and published by Marsilio, Venezia

Special thanks to:


Albert Oehlen was born in 1954 in Krefeld, Germany. He graduated in 1981 from Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Hamburg. From 2000 to 2009, he worked as a Professor in painting at Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf. Oehlen’s work has been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions including the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana in 2017, the Cleveland Museum of Arts and the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao in 2016, the New Museum of New York in 2015, the Moderner Kunst Museum in Vienna in 2013, the Kunstmuseum of Bonn in 2012, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples in 2009. The show at Palazzo Grassi is his largest monographic one in Italy, to date.



The exhibition catalogue is published by Marsilio Editori. Graphic design by John Morgan.

The catalogue includes texts by François Pinault, Martin Bethenod, Caroline Bourgeois, Jean-Pierre Criqui.

264 pages
1 edition in 3 languages (Italian, English, French)

Available for sale online

Exhibition guide