Troels Wörsel Introduction (Eng)
Troels Wörsel's (b. 1950) approach to art stems from a fundamental interest in the painting and its devices, its history, function and formal characteristics. Troels Wörsel has created a highly media investigative and semiotic artwork, where he submits the painting to a range of investigations of its semantic potentials. He draws upon inspiration from numerous places in the art history, but in a way where no particular 'ism' or direction becomes the driving force. Troels Wörsel's work is created through continual investigations, a process that has become a necessity for its development, and which leads to original and personal expressions and ensures a constant evolution. Traces of American Pop Art are evident along with, Minimalism and Concept Art, but at a closer look traces from the European art history are revealed as well, Velásquez, Picabia, Duchamp and Mondrian appear to be some of the influences as well as Renaissance and Baroque. Because of the many influences one would think that the expression would be eclectic and fragmentary, but contrary to this the works appear strong and as well as visually harmonious also intellectually well grounded.

Troels Wörsel is interested in how the painting gains its meaning, formally, technically, conceptually and symbolically. The artist says: My point is: No matter how physical the features of a painting are, they mean something. They are simply absorbed as signs amongst all the others making up the painting. A painting is something semantic. A good example is Troels Wörsel's combination of type, color and gesture in the works, the artist plays with a combination of linguistic and visual meanings, where he treats all the elements of the painting as information and hereby lends the paintings visual area a kind of independence and specificity, without reducing all visual information to linguistic statements. Both conceptual, perceptual, tactile and contextual aspects of the work contributes to the final expression, whereby the painting questions the definition of paintings, visual communication and the visual semantic space.

Another important part of Troels Wörsel's work is the inclusion of 'the private' or 'the personal', meaning that he includes his own everyday life, his interests and influences, although without the works becoming too absorbed in the visual expression of the ego. This accounts for example for artefacts from his studio, street signs, names of places in his everyday surroundings, wine labels, references to cooking and cycling. In the so called Cooking Pictures from the late eighties cooking becomes an allegory for the creation of a painting. The sauce is a metaphor for the painting: liquid matter which takes shape, as he says of it. The process of creating a painting has similarities to the way you cook, creating from separate ingredients, an intense and concentrated unity, where the individual parts are being reduced to concoct and reach the essence of the dish.

The 'Fog-works' from the early nineties are an another good example of Troels Wörsel's overall approach to painting. The Fog Paintings echoes the mist of an early winter morning in the city, the fog encapsulating you, interrupted only by the occasional, spiralling lights from cars passing by. The Fog Paintings are neither subject, object, figuration or abstraction. The Fog Paintings occupy a middle ground between the visual and conceptual, where a mist of black, grey and white strokes collapses color, form and space. They reflect the idea of breaking down the painting to matter, in a sense they are an exercise in reaching through the mist of expressions and techniques hereby laying bare the essentiality of the painting. The works are created by attaching a brush to a drill in an attempt to eradicate the idea of the personal artistic touch and the artistic subject. Troels Wörsel refers to a fantasy which among others was expressed by Charles Baudelaire in the beginning of the modern age: A painting is a machine. Troels Wörsel's paintings of a hand painting also relates to these meta-reflections of breaking down the painting and abolishing the subject from the process. In other works Troels Wörsel specifically paints the paint. In certain cases the works becomes a portrait of the paint, resembling Roy Lichtenstein's famous paintings of brushstrokes. In those paintings Roy Lichtenstein delivers a humorous comment to modernism by showing the brushstroke as an icon, a pictogram or a readymade, hereby breaking with the conventions of modernism which regards the brushstroke as the ultimate index. Lichtenstein's brushstroke works draws attention to the brushstroke as a picture in its own right, and points toward the a range of conventions attached to painting. Troels Wörsel has a similar approach to painting where a continual interest in investigating the conventions of the brushstroke and painting are at heart.

In 2007 Troels Wörsel represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale by a selection of large format paintings which were subsequently shown at Statens museum for Kunst in Copenhagen. Amongst these works a painting called A Sangre, showed a monkey painted vertically along each opposing side of the painting creating a distinct vertical division of the surface. The work asks essential and philosophical questions such as 'who creates what', 'who created me', 'who created this painting' etc.. Questions which can be both conceived as overall existentially philosophical, but also as investigative into the very being of painting. The monkey, which is almost depicted as looking into its own reflection from each end of the painting, points toward art historic issues such as ideas concerning originality/copy and reality/illusion. Who created who? The title A Sangre comes from Spanish and translates 'to bleed'. The expression is used in the printing business when you print to the very edge of the paper, but in the meantime singe in French means monkey. Troels Wörsel plays on this duality and interconnection in the painting which in a sense reproduces itself by both motif and connotation. The work continually references itself again and again.

Troels Wörsel is represented in numerous Danish and international museums and collections, among others MoMA in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, a large selection of German museums, Statens Museum for Kunst, Aros, Arken, Louisiana, Horsens Kunstmuseum in Denmark and more.

Inger Marie Hahn Møller, MA in Art History