Erik A. Frandsen is a self-taught artist. In the years 1976-1979 he studied ceramics in Greece, spent time in Carrara, Italy training as a sculptor and went to Paris, France where he worked with graphics.
In 1981, Erik A. Frandsen moved to Copenhagen, Denmark where he founded “Værkstedet Værst” an artistic collective. Erik A. Frandsen was part of the “det vilde maleri” movement during the early 1980s.
The imagery of Erik A. Frandsen’s art is ambiguous, as it proves at once both inviting and rejecting. Erik A. Frandsen’s early artworks were constructed by multiple layers, the first layer was the actual motive and the second, objects obstructing the motives such as rubber tire, photographs, boxes and lights applied to the canvas or drawings. Erik A. Frandsen’s earlier imagery centred on eroticism, which initially invited one in, in seductive manner, but at second glance appeared cold and rejecting due to the obstructions.
A significant example of this is from 1992 where Erik A. Frandsen participated at Dokumenta IX with drawings that were obstructed by fluorescent tube lights, where the poetics of the drawings were obstructed by the hardness of the light.
A characteristic of Frandsen’s artistic practice is his recycling of motives and the application of these to various mediums, with an altogether different expression as the end result. Erik A. Frandsen has in series repeated specific motifs in order to illuminate, that which is not visible at first glance. For example motifs previously painted in acrylic on aluminium are recycled in mosaics of Venetian smalti.
A sought motive by Erik A. Frandsen is that of his family in intimate, everyday situations. Whereas this imagery at first gives rise to the notion of family life in harmony, at second glace they appear unnerving due to the juxtaposition of the same image in photographic negatives. The same goes with the flower compositions. They are not flower motives in the traditional sense, but more so images of interiors in which the flowers are placed. Erik A. Frandsen’s flower motives are not traditional flower motives but weeds such as thistles and dandelions placed in urine bottles and in kitch vases.
Erik A. Frandsen has since moved on to new techniques and new materials. Large reflective stainless-steel surfaces have been treated with polishing tools to “paint” sensuous flowers traditional symbols beauty and life, but also of mortality. Frandsen have previously used the floral motif in his exploration of the private domain, although usually in acrylic on aluminium. In 2004, Erik A. Frandsen presented radical new works. Onto the surface of large reflective steel sheets, Frandsen’s characteristic flowers motives were engraved. Heavy metal and the honing of a drilling machine had replaced canvas and brush.
Despite the unusual material, the motives of the paintings are instantly recognizable as Frandsen’s. A rose is placed in a urine bottle, large funnel-shaped flowers are bursting with sexual connotations, spring onions are left withering in a bowl and numerous types of flowers are placed in oversized vases. The clash between the material and the motive is intense. Steel flowers are impossibility. When encountered the works are sensually seductive, yet projecting a rejective cool.
In art historical context the flower motive has sustained as a symbol of beauty, sensuality, life, death, and vanity. Erik A. Frandsen has earlier applied the flower motive as a symbol in his artistic exploration of intimacy, relationships, and home life as the chosen themes of his paintings.
Erik A. Frandsen continues his ongoing exploration of lines and perspective, central to his artistic expression.