Spotlight: Norwegian Artist Else Marie Hagen Balances Reality and Artifice In a Surreal New Series of Photographic Works

"Else Marie Hagen: Denne dagen, denne natten" is on view at Galleri K in Oslo through October 1, 2023.

Else Marie Hagen, Øyelokk (Eyelid) (2022-23). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.
Else Marie Hagen, Øyelokk (Eyelid) (2022-23). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.

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What You Need to Know: On view through October 1, 2023, Oslo-based Galleri K is presenting a solo exhibition of work by Norwegian artist Else Marie Hagen, her seventh solo show with the gallery. Titled “Denne dagen, denne natten,”—“This day, this night”—the show features a range of Hagen’s recent photographic and sculptural works which explore the boundaries between what can be documented, whether by film or another artistic mean, and what can only be implied.

As the essay by Jørgen Lund in the accompanying exhibition catalogue expounds, “Here, an exhibition is offered not simply as a selection of pictures, but rather as processes and emotions of image making, not simply a venue or a location but rather freedom exercised towards places and locations.”

About the Artist: Based in Oslo, Else Marie Hagen (b. 1963) maintains a conceptual-based artistic practice that centers on the use of photography and objects. Focusing on the phenomenological experience of the viewer with her work, Hagen creates interventions, either visual or physical, that allow for different levels of mental engagement. Site-specificity, spatiality, and composition are wielded with precision to play with perceptions of familiarity and foreignness. Hagen has completed several commissions across Norway, and her work is held in numerous public collections, including the National Museum housing an 11-meter-long photographic installation—the largest of her oeuvre.

Why We Like It: The collection of works within “Denne dagen, denne natten”—both individually and together—are deceptively straightforward. Using a minimalistic visual lexicon of familiar objects, places, and materials, Hagen’s vignettes operate as sites of psychological exploration. Despite their formal conceptual and arti historical foundations, there is still a sense of levity and humor to be found, such as in Hit by Beauty (2022-23). One of the most intriguing facets of Hagen’s work is her ability to move seamlessly between image and object. In works like Stagge kråka (Restraing the Crow) (2022–23), the image contains its own elusive narrative, which is then extended by the way the physical image is mounted, wrapped around an incongruently sized wooden frame. Together, the works in the show highlight Hagen’s precisely honed artistic language and craft highly nuanced viewer experiences.

See featured works from the exhibition below.

Else Marie Hagen, Hit by Beauty (2021-23). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.

Else Marie Hagen, Denne dagen, denne natten I (This Day, This Night no. 1) (2021-23). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.

Else Marie Hagen, Sammenfallende betingelser (Coinciding Conditions) (2021-23). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.

Else Marie Hagen, Stagge kråka (Restraining the Crow) (2022-23). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.

Else Marie Hagen, Funksjonell masse (Functional Mass) (2023). Courtesy of Galleri K, Oslo.

Else Marie Hagen: Denne dagen, denne natten” is on view at Galleri K, Oslo, through October 1, 2023.

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