Sasja Hagens (Utrecht, 1973) studied at the Royal School of Arts The Hague The Netherlands. Her paintings are in collection of (a.o) the Maritime Museum Rotterdam, the Cityhall Rotterdam, ABN AMRO bank, ECT Rotterdam – Hong Kong, Arcadis and Deloitte Netherlands.
Her work is widely exhibited a.o. at Duolun (MoMa) in Shanghai, Maritime Museum Rotterdam, Habitare in Helsinki, Oblast Art Museum Kemerovo (Russia) and Museu Maritim in Barcelona.
Her focus now is on the Dutch wild nature. As in harbourscapes she continues her journey finding new stories in her direct surroundings. ‘Man is small and builds big things in an attempt to stop nature for a while. That gives me a romantic feeling’.
The Garden of Hesperides
There is an unearthly beautiful garden, but nobody knows where to find it. In this garden grows a special tree. It’s an apple tree, with perfect apples of solid gold. There is been said, one who eats the apple will become immortal. However, the garden is hidden and the tree is guarded by three daughters of Atlas, The Hesperides. Also creature Ladon, a hunderd headed dragon stands besides these Hesperides to help them with their task. There is a spell too: one who steels the apples, will have unfortunate luck or a immediate death.
‘The Garden of Hesperides’ has been a famous setting for several key scenes in the Ancient Greek mythology. After 4000 years it’s time to transform the garden from a setting to a key player, so it will get her deserved honor.
2016 | Gallery Untitled, Rotterdam
Soloshow ‘Garden of Hesperides’
2016 | AAF Hong Kong
With Neuberg Art Gallery
2015 | BLOOOM, Cologne
With Gallery Untitled
2015 | Gallery Untitled, Rotterdam
Soloshow ‘Harbourlandscapes & Colourfields’
2015 | CBK, Rotterdam
Soloshow ‘The Intoxication of Victory’
2015 | Kunstrai, Amsterdam
2015 | Pulchri Studio, The Hague
Groupshow Denkend aan Mesdag
2015 | Pulchri Studio, The Hague
Group show Kunst en Ruimte curated by Rainer Bullhorst
2015 | Rotterdam Contemporary Art Fair
2014 | Wereldhavendagen, Rotterdam
Soloshow Gallery Untitled
2014 | SCOPE Basel
AnOTHER art gallery
2014 | AAF Hong Kong
Neuberg Art Gallery
2013 | anOTHER art gallery, Italy-UK
ART.FAIR Koln (Germany)
2013 | Mark Peet Visser
2012 | Neuberg Art Gallery, Hong Kong
2012 | AnOTHER art gallery, Italy-UK
2011 – 2012 | Rotterdam Maritime Museum, Rotterdam
Yin & Jan
curator: Irene Jacobs
paintings: ‘Shanghai Dock’ (230 x 340) and ‘Saipem 7000’
2011 – now | Maastoren, Rotterdam
Permanent show in Mainhall and Boardroom
for: Deloitte and AKD
catalogue: art collection Deloitte
2008 | Shanghai Duolun Museum (MoMa)/ Shanghai Operahouse , Shanghai, China
Rotterdam Shanghai: ‘Unity in difference’
At these expositions, mainly large sized paintings were shown, all about the Rotterdam and Shanghai harbour. These expositions were curated by the ABN Amro Bank Rotterdam and were a part of the international business delegation of the Cityhall of Rotterdam
2008 | Oblast Art museum Kemerovo, Oblast, Russia
curator: Peter van Toorn Vrijthoff
catalogue: Landscape of Holland
2007 | Maritime Museum of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Art Mar Internationale Bienale
curator: Gloria Picazo and Leila Souissi
catalogue: ArtMar 2007
2007 | Pulchri Studio, The Hague, the Netherlands
Rotterdam Shanghai: ‘Unity in difference’
2004 | Museum Tongerlohuys Roosendaal, the Netherlands
Art & Technics
2002 – 2008 | Maas Gallery Rotterdam
Art Rotterdam, other fairs and regulary shown at the gallery
2012 | Design for ceramic facade 900 x 600 cm for European China Centre Rotterdam ECCR
In commission of Volker Wessels Netherlands and Shanghai Construction Group
2013 | Design for Facade Whampoa Metro Station Hong Kong
With Neuberg Art Gallery Hong Kong
2014 | Biezepol Steel & Rubberdesign Heerjansdam
Paintings for Boardroom and restaurant
2012 | Deloitte Rotterdam Netherlands & AKD Advocaten
Paintings for Mainhall and Boardroom
2008 | Palladio Group, The Hague
Painting for boardroom
2007 – 2008 | Hertel B.V. Paintings for Mainhall and Boardroom headoffice Rotterdam
1992-1996 | Royal Academy Of Art, Rotterdam
Graduated drawing and painting
1991-1992 | University of Arts Utrecht
Theatre design and photography
Maritime Museum Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
ECT Rotterdam- Hong Kong
Biezepol Steel & Rubberdesign
several private collections
Interview by ‘The Interiorator’
Grand and immersive. That’s how I’d describe the paintings of Sasja Hagens. I got to meet this successful artist in her studio in the north of Rotterdam. “I start painting for real the moment I realize: this looks like bullshit!”
So Sasja, you’ve been pretty successful these last few years. How did it all start out?
I’ve been working as an artist for about twenty years now. My first study was set design. The subject I enjoyed most was painting and so I switched studies as soon as I could. I graduated in Painting and Drawing at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.
What was the click with painting for you at the time?
To be honest, I was originally more interested in photography. When I was seventeen, I had a boyfriend who was a photographer. But when I saw him schlepping around big camera’s and heavy lights through all kinds of weather, I thought I’d go crazy if I had to do that myself all the time. I much preferred sitting in a warm and cosy studio, painting with the lights on. But all kidding aside, at the end I do have deeper emotions about painting of course.
What are those deeper emotions?
I have a good sense of color and I’ve always been lucky enough to be able to express that. The theme of my work changes throughout time, though. Especially after I had finished a big series of paintings about ports I wanted to do something different. I’d sold every single piece and thought to myself, I’d really like to make a good painting for a change. I always get that feeling when something is done.
Are you that self-critical?
Oh no! It’s rather that I always see new possibilities. Don’t get me wrong though.I can really enjoy looking at my own work, but not too long. Every work has been such a struggle, such a quest for a solution. There always comes a moment when I’m more or less done with it.
What are the problems you run into?
I always start with a plan. And the intention to make the best painting ever. That’s how I learned things. If you don’t have that mindset, then just don’t do it.
I always start out painting exactly what I had in mind. But most of the time I get stuck at the moment when all my swell ideas turn out not to work. That’s when blind panic sets in. I feel abandoned by the hemisphere of my brain that makes up all my nice little plans. I start painting for real the moment I think to myself, this looks like bullshit!
So what makes you come up with a plan every time before you start painting?
I have to! You’re nowhere without a plan. Most of the time, however, something good happens in the end. But sometimes it doesn’t. And those are not my finest moments. Luckily, I’ve become a lot more self-confident. I don’t mind so much when I’m screwing up a painting. At least I give myself the space to try out something new. Staring at a blank canvas with big eyes has never helped me. It’s the actual painting that makes me happy.
What is it that makes you happy when you’re painting?
To me, it’s all about color. About rhythm. About seeing what it is, yet letting the abstract value of the painting dominate. It’s not about the picture, it’s about the dynamics of applying the paint. That generates meaning.
People sometimes ask me why I’ve spent so much time painting ports – such an obvious theme. But their size and industrial quality light the fire in me. Artists can still be innovative within classical themes like ports and portraits, so as far as I’m concerned there’s plenty of space for me. I’m also fascinated by the huge size of the Dutch Delta Works and the Zeeland Bridge. Man is small and builds big things in an attempt to stop nature for a while. That gives me a romantic feeling.
Do you have tip for starting artists?
What has always helped me is that I come into my studio each and every day and think to myself, never forget why you went to art school! During my first year, I thought that I was going to make the coolest paintings in the world. And I think you should never let go of that thought.