Ida Haag was born in Kungs-Husby, Sweden in 1979 and has a range of impressive qualifications, including a BA Fine Art from The University of East London. She has considerable experience as a photographer and jewellery designer. Her work has been widely exhibited in London, Paris and Bordeaux, to great international acclaim.
Haag currently divides her time between Enkoping, Sweden and Bali, Indonesia and describes how being able to create is integral to her very being. Her distinctive body of work, which includes both paintings and sculptures, seeks to explore key themes of identity, nudity and the esoteric. These striking motifs conceal strong dramatic emotions, often within deceptively endearing images.
Haag uses her art to make sense of the everyday. She uses contemplation of and interaction with her panoply of created characters as a means of processing her feelings. Some of these personas are from her parallel world, Ismanien which Haag describes as follows:
“Ismanien is a fictional world that exists under ice… Ismaniens’ characters (or personas) first began to appear to me in childhood. I started to see my feelings appearing in colours and later in figures and this has become a part of my reality. These figures help and advise me on a daily basis. For example, Manik, the yellow character in my work, is the crazy one – very excitable and prone to doing funny things! If I ‘m feeling like Manik, then Igur – who is the other, red persona – can come and rescue me and advise me on how to cope. Igur is cold, with no empathy at all, but can be very nice too! Portvakten is the white persona that looks like a human bird and is the Guardian of the Gate. She can only see things in black or white and is very focused on what’s in front or behind her, so can sometimes miss more important details… she protects Ismanien all the time. Blue Rabbit is the fighter, he’s constantly falling down, but always manages to get up again – he never gives up! Finally there’s Vera, who was human, before being kidnapped and taken to Ismanien, where she turned into an ice butterfly. She’s an extraordinary persona, one who has a huge amount of empathy and love. She’s the main character in my forthcoming book about Ismanien, which I hope to finish in the next year or so.”
Haag’s work is visually rich and highly complex in tone – a direct evocation of her own life and personal experience. Art enables her to get a sense of control over her emotions, as they are broken down and then purposefully reconstructed bit by bit, layer by layer. This process of working can sometimes take up to a year, as each layer has its own story and unique state of mind. She explains how much she is driven by the innate need to create, to communicate and develop a sense of understanding in this way:
“I know that my art often raises many questions and I like that – I believe we see what we want to see. The majority of people tell me that my art is very emotional and for me that’s the most important thing. People don’t need to literally understand Ismanien as such, but if the public feels what I am trying to express, then I know that I’ve accomplished my goal as an artist.”
Ida Haag is exhibiting her visionary work in the show Contrasts at The Hastings Arts Forum until 15th March. The show also feature select works by Kenyan artist, Vincent Oyenga.
• Please refer to Ida Haag’s website for further insight into her work www.idahaag.com
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