Images that cling to you like sticky gum: that seems to be the best way to describe work of Karin Hanssen. This artist ‘borrows’ images from the past and recreates them on her canvas. To do that she uses public photographs from after WOII till the late 70s, an era of wealth and plentitude but also of lingering violence concerning the cold war and Vietnam.
A process of reinterpretation is put in motion which the artist compares with a flashback. Suddenly the images transform and are put in a contemporary context. If you look for example at ‘The approach’. This used to be a very innocent image of children playing with Donald Duck but looking at it now with our 21th century eyes the scene reminds of something different…pedophilia? Meanings shift and the atmosphere changes, leaving us with an uneasy feeling…
In her latest work Hanssen takes us even further back in time. The Borrowed gaze/Variations GTB focusses on the famous work Paternal Admonition (1654) by Gerard ter Borch. An intriguing painting which meaning remains uncertain. Does the woman portray a daughter, a future bride or a prostitute? Fact is that it had a huge success in its own time and the glorious satin robe was repeated over and over again. Hanssen continues this tradition in her own way, raising the question of authorship in these modern times of technical reproduction. In the new series she tries to liberate the woman in the painting and give her a voice of her own. The woman is put in isolation, is mirrored, every time shown in a different way. Do we now see an emancipated woman of today? Have those subtle adjustments resulted in the desired outcome? See for yourself! Karin Hanssen’s work is exhibited in Netwerk Alost till the 13th of May.
© I Love Belgium
I LOVE BELGIUM