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Albert Oehlen

Preise (2020)

“You could attach prices to thoughts. Some cost a lot, some a little. And how does one pay for thoughts? The answer, I think, is: with courage.” The Ludwig Wittgenstein quote that features in Albert Oehlen’s anniversary edition, titled “Preise” (Prices), succinctly captures the Janus-faced nature of the neoliberal economy: the price for courageous and free speech or action – the risk, say, of making a fool of oneself with an idea or a picture – may still not be paid in the same currency with which one buys pasta, pears, or cocoa. Still, in the logic of financial capitalism, art – here hinted at by a seated bronze figure – readily aligns itself with the range of goods attainable only to those with the money for it. A pun cast into an image that throws light on itself; a brochure from the supermarket called art.