Kristina Hagman’s Eloquent Structures
In her recent paintings, Kristina Hagman brings forth, with great vigor and surprising coherence, the promising creative itinerary she has undertaken in earlier works. In this case, there is the intention of mooring “eloquent structures” to representational painting, by using the methods offered in “combined painting.” Underneath their more immediate mimetic appearance these same structures are able to go beyond their own figurative roots, to attain a refined compositional recodification. The result is an image of limits, balanced between a great iconic force and an outstanding tendency toward abstraction, or more simply, toward a selection of de-iconized forms. Hagman maintains a continuous dialog between photographic matrices, which form the basis of her works, and the successive moments of their re-elaboration. In doing so, she subtracts the point of departure from the usual semantic definitions. Thus, a bridge, an architectural fragment, any detail taken from the urban landscape, is no longer seen as a figurative object; instead, it is translated into the contrary, as impressions of something much more subtle, profound – dense in their pictorial functions but, at the same time, present in Hagman’s ultimately delicate landscapes. These are hidden structures, and for that reason, in the ample topography of Kristina Hagman, they would be invisible, imperceptible, possibly nonexistant, without the touch or the reordering of the artist. Hers is a hand that is able to transform the dominion of the visible into a stimulating laboratory of seeing.
In this sense, the pictorial space Kristina creates is not meant to offer the spectator a return to the reality nearby, which would be grounded in an iconographic soil. Nor does this space allude, through the vibrant gestures of Hagman’s brush, to a symbolic dimension that would lead to a lyrical or personal feeling. None of that. , with its diverse objects, its various forms and elements, through a new compositional order, one that is cast into the unstoppable luminosity of frenetic parallel lines, diagonal structures, and vertical or horizontal segments. In this way, the subjected structures, the deep matrices of appearance, re-emerge and impose on our vision like forms of a new iconic universe. Captured from the urban forest or the concrete jungle, behind the banality of the already-seen, the spectator can discover a vision always ready to go farther.
Form becomes structure. Structures become rhythm. Rhythm becomes time. And time? Perhaps time is something caught on the one side by the allusion to infinity, to endlessness; on the other by an immediate record of the instant. This is the dominant principle of the codified landscapes of Kristina Hagman. On the one hand, these works tend to bring about a choice, a conscious sublimation of things already seen in the sphere of circumstance, which are quickly realized in the camera’s eye; they are then constantly brought into the dynamic reiteration, the morphologic repetition characteristic of many abstract languages, starting with Piet Mondrian and leading all the way to the masters of Neoconstructivism. In this case, Hagman’s structures come to us outside of time, caught in the infinity of grid lines which are repeated, which strike one another, and which multiply ceaselessly. On the other hand, the dense and physical brushstrokes of the artist, full of the memory of their nearby figurative origins, show themselves on these same abstract and rhythmical passages, ready to leave the willful impressions of a moment captured in the pregnant temporality of a gesture, of a movement apprehended in its creative this and none other. Between the infinity of form and the immediacy of luminous landscape, the works of Kristina Hagman depart from the serial arrangement of a pure abstraction and from the anonymity of mere reproduction, to become “eloquent structures” of a fascinating esthetic intuition: the intuition of the invisible at the edge of boundless vision of the everyday.
The author of several books on art, Dr. Ricardo de Mambro Santos is a professor and lecturer of art history at the Willamette University faculty