les presses du réel

The Garden Paintings

Fredrik Værslev - The Garden Paintings
Fredrik Værslev: The Garden Paintings is the first publication dedicated solely to one specific body of work in the artist's practice. It includes essays by Martha Kirszenbaum and Erlend Hammer, and gives a comprehensive and chronological account of the works from the series, showing their stylistic development as well as their exhibition history.
As Erlend Hammer writes in his essay: "The Garden Paintings are works that exist within a complex network of references that include everything from Abstract Expressionism to suburban garden furniture as one might find in an event organized as a platform for relational aesthetics. They similarly engage, art-historically speaking, with everything from the anthropological site specificity of Robert Smithson's relics, the theatricality of Minimal sculpture, architecturally loaded carriers of institutional critique, and post-conceptual painting objects. At the same time, they're also just paintings."
In her essay, Martha Kirszenbaum points to the origin of the work in the suburban architecture of Norway in the 1980s: "His Garden Paintings are as much a homage as a misuse and a detournement of the wooden decks that formed the environment of his upbringing. Each work is based on an appropriation of wooden pallets, always seemingly the same size and comprised of seven or eight slats. The repetition of structure and material seems to echo the monotony of suburban life, while the various color palettes he uses refer to Norwegian housepaint." 
The publication gives a comprehensive and chronological account of the Garden Paintings as well as their exhibition history. It thereby shows both the stylistic development of the individual works and the various ways Værslev has presented them since he first began the series in 2011.  
The book is published in conjunction with the exhibition Platting held at Haugar Art Museum (2023) and curated by Erlend Hammer. The works from the series have been also exhibited in institutions such as the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, The Power Station in Dallas, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen and Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn.
Fredrik Værslev (born 1979 in Moss, Norway, lives and works in Drøbak, Norway) studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Frankfurt and at the Malmö Art Academy, Sweden. He is the director and founder of the Landings Project Space in Vestfossen, Norway. He exhibited in numerous museums and institutions worldwide.
One of the most original voices of contemporary painting, Norwegian artist Fredrik Værslev navigates between different painterly traditions. His practice demonstrates an insistent focus on the painting process that demonstrates the possibilities and relevance of the medium today. His works stem from the meeting between architecture and painting, and take form as painted renderings of motifs from the artist's daily life. He treats his paintings as objects, often created through more or less laborious, serial, or deterministic processes where time itself, as well as various external factors, become active co-creators in the making of the piece. In several series he left his paintings outdoors for long periods of time, allowing the weather and external wear to complete them. Other works employ apparently clichéd techniques, motifs, or art historical quotations (i.e. dripping and splattering). Værslev also challenges the process of painting by freely collaborating with fellow artists or making use of untraditional painting tools, such as spray cans or equipment used to paint roads and sports arenas. Værslev's paintings often shift between abstraction and representation, as can be seen in his breakthrough series, the “terrazzo” paintings, that imitate the visuality of Italian stone floors and at the same time call upon the expressivity and spontaneity of abstract expressionism. The “Canopy” series is reminiscent of modernism and its stripe paintings, but they stem rather from the awnings at the artist's childhood home.
Edited by Edoardo Bonaspetti, Erlend Hammer, Fredrik Værslev.
Texts by Erlend Hammer and Martha Kirszenbaum.

Graphic design: Lorenzo Mason Studio.
published in December 2023
English edition
23,5 x 33,5 cm (softcover)
184 pages (ill.)
ISBN : 979-12-80579-34-8
EAN : 9791280579348
in stock
topicsFredrik Værslev: other titles

Fredrik Værslev: also present in

related to

 top of page