“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
Comprising two volumes (one English, one Norwegian), Open Window is published on the occasion of Fredrik Værslev’s exhibition at the Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo, which celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of the building’s skylight room. It brings together a rich selection of archival material with critical essays that retrace the institution’s history and connect it to Værslev’s oeuvre and the paintings and spatial intervention he produced especially 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 was 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, which also serves as a frame for a painting depicting a view through a window. Echoing the exhibition room’s various transformations, Værslev reconstructed its 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 Open Window’s hybridity between painting and architecture.