The title of the new solo show by Dianne Hagen, “Salon des Innocents” at Lumen Travo Gallery, is a subtle reference to nineteenth-century art salons where artists showed their works to the public. This title also pays tribute to the famous painting by Rubens called “Massacre of the Innocents”. The Flemish painter depicts the Bible story where King Herod orders the killing of all newborn boys, because it was thought the savior Jesus would be among them. In this painting Hagen recognised these universal themes of suffering. Her recent work includes suggestions such as the Christian cross, the crown of thorns, and the aureole. Hagen processes them so that they are equally strong as forms of suffering as the symbols of victory and heroism.
Throughout her new body of works Hagen does not unfold her intentions in a single glance, what you’d rather keep hidden, unfolds. A provocation about your expectations to an open area where truth is subjective. Object and the image melt in your mind. Hidden or subconscious emotions and references to sexuality, suffering and religion are recurring themes. Topics that touch her personally and that seem indescribable, she makes visible. Her work opens a personal cosmos, open to the viewers desires.
By Edith Rijnja, 2014.