This catalogue presents the artist's Sail Paintings
series—32 hybrid compositions reminiscent of a boat's sail. This
monumental publication (30 x 40 cm) is designed as a graphic extension to
Fredrik Værslev's work has always been about expanding the possibilities
and the field of painting through the interlacing of technical
experimentation and conceptual framing. Tan Lines aims to do the
same: to represent an artistic practice in the form of a book.
Displayed at three venues from 2017 to 2018, each of the thirty-two works
from the series Sail Paintings is presented here. Værslev's work
brings together a wide range of elements, including nautical symbols,
stripes, vividly painted or silkscreened colors, oil drips from the studio
floor, art-historical and autobiographical references co-inhabiting the
surface of each piece. In this book, Værslev has placed transparent
designs across every page, adding more forms onto the already multilayered
paintings, which are composed of painted canvasses folded and sewn
together into triangles. This gesture, imbuing the works with even more
puzzle-like symbolism, represents yet another step in a practice that is
based on constant research and experimentation with, but also within, his
Accompanying the monumental reproductions in this book are two essays, by
Giovanni Carmine and Michelle Cotton,
which deconstruct the paintings' iconography and process, and an interview
with the artist by Adrienne Drake.
Published following the eponymous touring exhibition at Kunst Halle Sankt
Gallen, St. Gallen, from November 11, 2017, to January 14, 2018; Bonner
Kunstverein, Bonn, from February 3 to April 1, 2018, and Fondazione
Giuliani, Rome, from October 13, to December 22, 2018.
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.