Fredrik Værslev

selected works | exhibitions | texts | biography
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Fredrik Værslev
»The World is Your Oyster«
16.03.–13.04.2013 | Opening 15.03.2013, 6–9 pm

Over the past years Fredrik Værslev has created a comprehensive body of work, which questions protocols of painting at the segue of signature and contingency. Addressing painting with a Post-Modernist eye while flagging the conventions of the medium, Værslev has repeatedly employed the visual grammar and iconography of architectural structures and environments in search for painterly agency.

In his second solo exhibition with the gallery, Værslev presents an entirely new body of work, which could prosaically be described as 'spray paint on frosted glass, electrical light'. The works are of intimate scale and probably the most anecdotal within his production so far. Displayed on a wooden support they reference a Norwegian folk object while conflating sculptural dimension with ethereal landscapes of abstract painting.

Smudges and stains of paint trace the procedural stages the lucent carrier has been subjected to. Thick layers of spray paint have been applied, and quickly removed with an ice scraper - as if clearing a car window on a frosty day. The remnants of paint smacked onto the floor become prevalent to the further procedure in which Værslev presses the plexi sheets onto the residues, in a manner that comes close to methods of print-making. Some of the resulting paintings are more articulate, evoking ideas of Turner-èsque landscapes, others accumulate paint to form shapes of leaves, waves, clouds only to be thrown back again towards a minimum of a stain. The duality of presence and erasure are apparent throughout the series, as much as the reoccurring concern for happenstance and chance, both of which define a negotiable space within Vaerslev's work and resurface throughout his practice.

The transparency of the material plays into the project with a light bulb placed behind the glass as an external source of focal light, that interweaves with the painted surface and thus not only adds to a heightened sense of composition but also grants it with an ironic twist. Edvard Munch worked on similar grounds when he took inspiration from the use of electric lighting on theatre stages and translated this onto his paintings. Værslev deliberately surf-rides such references when playing out the humor of a technically enhanced painting and the unerring seduction of a ready-to-go sunset.

Fredrik Værslev (born Drøbak, lives and works in Oslo and Vestfossen) received his Master from Malmö Art Academy, Malmö, and Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main. Recent solo exhibitions include: Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmö; Standard (Oslo), Oslo; Indipendenza Studio, Rome, and Front Desk Apparatus, New York. Current and recent group exhibitions include: Moderna Museet, Malmö; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse; CCA Andratx, Mallorca; and Herald St, London. His exhibition at Circus will be followed by a two-person exhibition at Billedrommet, Tønsberg (with Nicolas Ceccaldi), and a solo exhibition at Giò Marconi, Milan, in autumn this year.