Fredrik Værslev - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Circus Gallery, Berlin

  • Catalogue 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 … It only needs few flaws in order to become really good.'


    Through a play of subjectivities, Frederik Værslev investigates the relationship between abstraction, representation and decoration, in a vein similar to that first explored by the New York school of Expressionists in the 1950s. Building on this art historical foundation, Værslev’s works are a composition of abstract form and the suggestion of ornamentation. By exposing the freshly primed canvases to the elements outside his studio, Værslev embraces chance and variance as a way to create false histories of past wear. The additional use of solvents in the exposure stage prematurely ages the appearance of his paintings, rendering them reminiscent of the materials by which they were inspired and creating an acute sense of representation.

    Part of the Canopy series, the present lot uses simple form to suggest a banal material most commonly associated with recreational vehicles and outdoor leisure, resulting in a collision of high and low culture on canvas. Værslev uses visual patterns of the everyday in conjunction with traditional processes to further drive these dichotomies. Stylistically evoking the zips of Barnett Newman, Untitled (Canopy Painting: Blue and Orange V) is a study of the way abstraction can fade in and out of figuration and vice versa: in his careful composition of line, colour and patina, Værslev renders representation of form to abstraction and decorative design to representation.

    There is a romanticism associated with Værslev’s process that turns the method of allowing the environment to shape the painting into a painting of the environment itself. While the process of production in this series is mechanical – the initial priming, the stripes in various colours – exposure to the elements leaves the canvases open to chance, creating a complex, meditative interplay of design and deviation.


Untitled (Canopy Painting: Blue and Orange V)

primer, house paint, white spirit on canvas
196 x 131 cm (77 1/8 x 51 5/8 in.)
Signed and dated 'Fredrik Vaerslev 2012' on the overlap.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £68,500

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 12 February 2015 7pm