Overview

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Fredrik Værslev (B. 1979)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Fredrik Værslev (B. 1979)

Untitled (Canopy)

Details
Fredrik Værslev (B. 1979)
Untitled (Canopy)
signed and dated 'Fredrik Værslev 2012' (on the overlap)
primer, spray paint and white spirit on canvas
79 x 49 3/8in. (200.9 x 125.5cm.)

Executed in 2012
Provenance
Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmo
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.

Lot Essay

‘Just wait till the painting has been exposed to a couple of showers, been gashed a little by some sharp nails and so forth, and then been carted around the world in all sorts of miserable, leaking boxes … Oh yes, in due course I think this should be good! … It only needs few flaws in order to become really good’ (E. Munch, quoted in ‘Fredrik Værslev: “Lanterne Rouge”’, Standard (Oslo), http:/www.standardoslo.no/en/exhibitions/lanterne_rouge).

Bridging the divide between abstraction and representation, the weathered canvas of Fredrik Værslev’s Untitled (Canopy) witnesses the collision of high and low culture. Part of his Canopy series of paintings, the present work takes as its subject that familiar icon of suburban living: the canopy, or awning. Developing the theme of his previous Terrazzo paintings in which Værslev imitated the appearance of the polished surface of a gallery’s marbled floor, Untitled (Canopy) offers a trompe l’oeil illusion. Through neat geometric segmentation and compartmentalised colour, Værslev translates the structured repetitions of the outdoor awning to canvas. In Værslev’s oeuvre meteorology and methodology are inextricably linked: subject to the chance variations of seasonal change, the canopy represents the link between architecture and nature, and, carrying the marks of natural intervention, becomes a representation of the environment itself. Like the awnings that his paintings take as source material, the artist exposes his primed canvases to the
elements, leaving them outside of his studio for extended periods of time. Explaining the long process by which his works are made, Værslev has said, ‘there’s this incredibly slow part that happens when dealing with decisions made by Nature; to make the works dry, frost, fade in the sunlight, and age the way I’d like them to. It can easily take months before I apply another brushstroke or a spill that is yet again a decision made in a split second’ (F. Værslev, quoted in E. Rosales, ‘Finishing Touches’, in Mousse Magazine, no. 28, April 2011, p. 237).
With their meticulous striped aesthetic, Værslev’s Canopy paintings are embedded in a network of art historical references, from Barnett Newman’s Abstract Expressionist zips, to the Minimalist vision of Frank Stella’s concentric stripes and Daniel Buren’s precisely measured motif. Despite its stylistic similarities to this pre-existing formal vocabulary, Værslev’s concern is not with geometric abstraction or the legacy of abstract painting, but rather in how the abstract can be representational. Like Yves Klein’s Cosmogonies, in which the artist captured on canvas the trace of the elements, in Untitled (Canopy) Værslev forges a conceptual link between abstraction, representation and illusion.

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