Troels Wörsel (1950-), Untitled, 1985
Troels Wörsel addresses painting and its nature with great earnestness and insight. At an early stage of his career he pushed painting out of its usual two-dimensional nature by attaching various objects, often familiar everyday things, to the canvas.
At other times he applies paint with greater pastosity in certain places, making the picture plane appear like a relief, e.g. with raised dots, or he has “painted” with a sanding machine that leaves a blurry trail of mixed-up paint.
The painting's three dimensions
In this piece, he has mounted a small shelf on the canvas. The shelf is painted orange as the field in which it is mounted, which in turn repeats the shelf’s rococo carvings. This gives rise to a peculiar hybrid relationship between the flat canvas and the three-dimensional object, making it almost impossible to distinguish them from each other.
Merging the exalted and the basic
Wörsel reuses painterly categories such as abstraction – in this case the black, vertical bands that were canonised with Piet Mondrian’s (1872-1944) pictures. However, the striped pattern might also represent a decorative style of wallpaper, creating this merging between the exalted and the basic that is so typical of Wörsel. By bringing these well-established categories to the table, he also pushes them outside the boundaries of their original contexts, making them act as pictures themselves.