One of the most original voices in contemporary painting, Norwegian artist Fredrik Vaerslev navigates between different painterly traditions. His practice shows 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 in which 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 (e.g. dripping and splattering). Vaerslev 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. Vaerslev’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 it stems rather from the awnings at the artist’s childhood home.
Designed by Zak Group, this comprehensive monograph offers an overview of the artist’s oeuvre from the last decade. It brings together essays by Peter J. Amdam, Martha Kirszenbaum, Gunnar B. Kvaran, Therese Möllenhoff, Dieter Roelstraete, and Åsmund Thorkildsen. They explore Vaerslev’s relationship to the history of painting and suburban architecture and culture, as well as his artistic process.
Fredrik Vaerslev (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.
Published with Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, on the occasion of Fredrik Vaerslev's solo exhibition, September 21, 2018–January 6, 2019.