A rich selection of archival material along with critical essays and the series of paintings and spatial intervention that Fredrik Værslev especially produced for his exhibition at the Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo.
"Fredrik Værslev has kept on with painting, canvas on stretcher, but challenged it with regard to place, architecture, autobiography, art history, technique, and materials. Painting has proved to be a flexible medium that absorbs almost anything. Værslev has contributed to the field by expanding the view of painting while reminding us of the grand painterly tradition. 'I am a painter, I am concerned with good painting, in the conservative way,' he has said."—Wenche Volle
Composed of two volumes (English and Norwegian), Open Window comes out on the occasion of Fredrik Værslev's exhibition at the Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo which celebrates the 100th anniversary of its skylight room. The book brings together a rich selection of archival material along with critical essays that retrace the institution's history while relating to Fredrik Værslev's oeuvre and the series of paintings and spatial intervention that he especially produced for the show, which reflect on the act of framing and the relationship between painting and architecture. The starting point for the painting series Open Window is a window in the living room in Værslev's former apartment in Drammen, Norway. The frame is an accurate copy of the window—an architectural element that with glass and some filler could be fitted in a house, that also serves as a frame for a painting depicting a view through a window. Echoing the exhibition room's various transformations, Værslev reconstructed the room's former 1950s chest panel and presented it against the marble floor tiles from the 1980s. The room is a hybrid of different eras, analogous to the painting series' hybridity between painting and architecture.
Published following the eponymous exhibition at Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, from August 15 to September 15, 2019.
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.