“But modern man finds a face more beautiful without tattoos than with, even if the tattoos are by Michelangelo himself”
— Adolf Loos
“Not quite blonde, are we? More of a dirty blonde.”
— Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
When applied, a tattoo costs only a few hundred dollars. Its removal requires several thousand dollars, pain and many laser sessions. Whether out of regret or clearing real estate for the new, the cancellation process takes an average of eight treatments, spaced one month apart. Each treatment incrementally fades the tattoo until it is eventually erased. A shadow of the ink line typically remains, a stain of sorts, turning the symbolic gesture into an ambiguous anti-gesture.
Fredrik Værslev’s “Garden Paintings” address the context and frame of the suburban garden as a site of production – a place that cultivates the banalities and repetition found in suburban life. In these works, wood supports encompass a relay of several interrelated but different economies, inhabiting a space positioned in-between figure/ground, interior/exterior, public/private. Both in recent and older projects, Værslev has dealt with the implications of paint in architecture to show where these relationships become emblematic of painting itself – “in architecture as an object for painting, in terms of interior decoration, but also as one aspect of maintaining a site.” This thinking about painting with and against architecture does not presume to discover something about the architectural or “domestic context,” but proceeds with an awareness of the contradictory terms that inform its conduct and vocabulary. It is subject to re-arrangement.
Værslev over-edits the painting’s surface with sand paper and paint remover to prioritize “undoing” over “doing” and “anti-gesture” over “gesture.” He appropriates, to some extent, the conditions of painting to cancel out and repeat them. With these works, painting needs to be considered not just in terms of what appears to be external and ornamental but how it inverts and re-directs these qualities to gain knowledge about its own conditions of production and status as painting. One is invited to examine and re-examine the painting’s slats to find traces of this investigation undoing itself into the stains and scars of the surface.
Fredrik Værslev (b. 1979, Moss, Norway) graduated in 2011 with an MFA from The Art Academy in Malmö, Sweden / Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Recent and upcoming solo exhibitions include STANDARD (OSLO), Oslo; Studio Independienza, Rome; Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmö; and Galerie Circus, Berlin. Værslev`s works have also been included in exhibitions such as “I Think and That Is All That I Am” at Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles, “Priority Moments” at Herald Street, London, “The Confidence-man” at Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin and “Printemps de Septembre”, in Toulouse. Parallel to the exhibition his works can also be seen in “Collaborations & Interventions” at Kunsthalle Andratx, Mallorca. “That came out a little country” is his first exhibition in New York.
May 1 — June 30, 2012
Front Desk Apparatus
218 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016
Thursday, Friday and Saturday 12 – 6 PM