Else Marie Hagen works conceptually with photography, objects and perception. The challenge that lies in spatiality and site-specific possibilities is an essential element that comes strikingly to view in the installation Cover from 2010. The space is dominated by a shiny pink podium covered with paper which is torn at one end. It is formed in the shape of an L and covered in paper of the same color. At each end of the podium photographs are hanging, partly or completely packaged in the same pink paper that is wrapped around the podium.
One photograph depicts the same podium with a model teetering on its edge, indicating that this podium is a catwalk. The model stands with eyes closed, clothed in disheveled layers. This creates a measure of disquiet in the otherwise serene, pastel pink and flesh-toned surroundings. We notice that the subtle tearing in both the models clothes and the paper on the catwalk creates a tense conflict between what is covered and what is torn. The combination of photographs and sculptural objects which both relate to each other on several levels, affords the viewer possibilities for relating to Hagen’s dualities and reflections of well-known themes.
Hagen employs the same devices that the fashion industry uses in its subtle advertising and staged shows. Our perception of ourselves as human beings is strongly qualified by this industry’s insistent, but nevertheless subliminal communication in society.
Text: Randi Godø
Else Marie Hagen works conceptually with photography and objects. She plays around with the spectator’s experience of such phenomena, using strategies such as spatiality and site-specificity, as evinced in her installation Cover. The room is dominated by a pink, glossy podium formed as a large L and resembling a catwalk wrapped in pink paper. At one end, the paper has been partially torn off and lies crumpled in two giant balls on each side. A photograph hangs on the wall at each end, either completely or partially wrapped in the same pink paper that ensconces the catwalk. One of the photographs shows a model posing with closed eyes and layers of tattered clothing, creating a sense of unease among the ostensibly calm, pastel-pink surroundings.
The ripped clothes and wrapping set off a tense conflict between what is veiled and what has been torn off. By combining photography and sculptural objects that relate to one another on various levels, Hagen allows viewers to reflect on her dualism and mirroring of wellknown themes, as she uses the same effects the fashion industry does in its subliminal ads and staged showings. Our perceptions of ourselves as human beings are strongly influenced by this industry’s pervasive, yet hidden communication in society.
Text: Randi Godø
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0