Tom S. Hageman Home link Nederlands English Deutsch

May 1968: I finished my studies with a paper entitled, "The Art in the 21st Century," in which I concluded that modern art ought no longer defy or deny the ancient 'classical' tradition, but needs to search for a synthesis between the two traditions. In my series "Revelations" I searched for this synthesis in combining traditional skills with contemporary insights. This theme of searching for an integration and synthesis of traditional and contemporary art would continue to inspire me throughout my career and would find expression in my work in many different ways and forms.


In 1970 I lived in Turkey for a year and traveled through Teheran (Iran), Kabul (Afghanistan) en Lahore (Pakistan). My life in Turkey and my travels in Asia made a deep impression on me which in turn influenced me in my work.
My memories of Turkish bathhouses, Persian tiles, Afghan coffeehouses and Mogul gardens inspired me and I worked on integrating classical Asian styles and techniques in European techniques and thereby developing my own personal style in my series "Manuscripts."


In the beginning of the eighties I felt the desire to return to the European tradition of 'skimming light captured in oils.' But in working on the series"Erotic Landscapes," the question arose again how to combine and integrate the traditional with the modern art of painting. For me the 'traditional' art of painting is primarily defined by the illusion of a three-dimensional reality captured on a two-dimensional surface.


One could say that the 'traditional' artist is mainly concerned with conveying the content of his painting as 'reality.' Whereas 'modern' art for me is primarily characterized by autonomy of shape and color.
The modern artist is mainly involved with trying to convey the inherent beauty of form and color. This same appreciation for the inherent beauty of form and color is also the main characteristic of Asian art. The tension between these two traditions continued to fascinate me in my work. In the series "Rockin' Kimono's" I continued to work on integrating the 'classical illusion' with autonomous applications.


In the beginning of the nineties I lived in Prague (Czechoslovakia) for a year where I was connected to the Academy of Fine Arts as an artist in residence and a teacher. In Prague I felt intrigued by the tension between the constructional and anti-constructional elements within the architecture built in the Baroque period.
Where in the early eighties I had fallen in love with Asian art I now added a new love, the Rococo. These feelings for Asian art and the Rococo allowed themselves to be integrated. It inspired me in my next oil series, "The Imaginary City of Prague." Especially in my series, "Fencings" I felt I came closer to the integration and synthesis I have been working on between Asian or modern two-dimensional autonomy with the more traditional illusion of space.


In recent years I have felt a deepened urge to come to a synthesis. I searched not only for this merging in art applications but also in the meaning of art expressions. I found myself attracted to 'Symbolism,' the play of hidden meaning, a tradition playing a significant role around the turn of the twentieth century. It is the art of making mysterious, even magical paintings. Another favorite theme from the 'Belle Époque,' the female nude, also started to make an appearance in my work, which reconnected me to the East. Integration of the traditional and modern, the two - and three-dimensional, east and west, time and space is the result:
classical values are now being placed in a contemporary light.







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