About the work

TROELS WÖRSEL

ABOUT THE WORK


 

  TROELS WÖRSEL
    

Untitled (Trondheim), 1994
Oil on canvas
200 x 300 cm 

The painting seems to reproduce a workspace or possibly a studio. Initially we see the easily recognisable tools; only later do the more complex and paradoxical elements of the picture become evident.

The picture not only depicts a concrete room but also abstract, formal lines and expanses of colour. By mixing various techniques of painting Untitled (Trondheim) illustrates, as do a great many of Wörsel's works, a number of discussions of the characteristics of painting, e.g. the relationship between title and image, between picture and the depicted, and the typically painterly.

PHOTOGRAPHIC PAINTING
Done from a photograph that Wörsel took in Trondheim, the room of the painting and the black and white colours have been transferred from the photo. But brushstrokes that do not depict anything recognisable are also present.

The big, slightly fuzzy area in the middle is not immediately recognisable but instead unmistakably painterly and virtually sculptural in the way that the paint has been applied in a thick layer. Elsewhere the photographic source is very conspicuous. There is an emphasis on linear perspective and the room's everyday objects.

There is a discernible line down through the middle of the work where the two canvases constituting the picture meet. The joint disturbs the picture's partial realism, stressing the fact that a painting consists of paint on a flat canvas. This affords the work a tension between space and surface and between recognisable subject and painterly abstraction.

AN ELECTRIC DRILL AS BRUSH
Some of the brushstrokes in Untitled (Trondheim) clearly have been applied in a loose and swift hand whereas others look like they have been applied in mechanic, circular motions. Wörsel painted these areas with a brush strapped on to an electric drill.

At times he has imposed restrictions on his art, exclusively using mechanical means to apply the paint. This is a manner of experimenting with erasing the immediate traces after the artist's hand.

Troels Wörsel's art in general
Wörsel is interested in painting, its history and what it can and cannot do. His works frequently develop from philosophically inspired questions on the relationship between illusion and abstraction: the paradox that a painting often depicts something while being a self-contained object in its own right. When does a picture represent something and when does it represent itself?

Therefore the titles are crucial to Wörsel. They determine a certain meaning and reading of the picture but can also confuse and complicate our understanding of what we are seeing in the picture. Particularly the relationship between word and image is a recurring interest in Wörsel's art.

NO PAINTERLY 'EMOTIONALISM'
Inspired by Pop and conceptual art early on in his career, Wörsel turned his back on painting's expressive tradition, wishing to avoid a personal expression in his painting. "I don't want to express myself," he has stated, "I want to express what the picture should express."

However he has had to realise that erasing the traces of his own physical presence is impossible. Even the electric drill can be controlled and becomes a recognisable manifestation of the artist.

In Untitled (Trondheim) Wörsel combines the mechanical technique with sensitivity to the material and the brushwork. Over the course of his career he has experimented both with the wild, expressive painting (Young wild painting) with its focus on the work's immediate, formal idiom and with the idea based conceptual art.

After exploring both avenues Wörsel has reached the conclusion that there is no one right way of doing paintings. The medium is open to both mimesis and abstraction, and in his own paintings Wörsel is keeping his options open.

Wörsel combines an immediate sensuousness of colour, shape and brushwork with reflections on a medium laden with tradition and more than any other regarded as art with a capital A.

Arken
DK-2635 Ishøj
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Skovvej 100
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