Karin Hanssen. The Borrowed Gaze
Johan Pas, Daniela Hammer-Tugendhat, Kurt Vanhoutte
MER. Paper Kunsthalle, Gent, 2012
The Borrowed Gaze/Variations GTB, a series of paintings created by Karin Hanssen, reappropriates the female Rückenfigur (back figure) of the famous work Paternal Admonition (1654) of Gerard ter Borch. Almost identical replications of ter Borch’s paradigmatic image of a woman in a satin dress circulated on the market already in the 17th century. Today, in the era of technical reproduction and digital simulation, this practice acquires new relevance. By transferring the image to the here and now, and by producing new variations, the art of Karin Hanssen critically examines concepts of authorship and appropriation. Moreover, her extensive replication also fundamentally alters the status of ter Borch’s image. The tension between old and new more specifically creates the background against which the iconic woman from the past truly comes alive, for the first time displaying the complexity of her individual identity.