Around 1654, the Dutch genre painter Gerard ter Borch painted The Paternal Admonition. This is a figurative painting of an anonymous woman, her back towards us in a satin robe talking to another lady and man seated behind her. Between 1654 and 1750 it is a well-known fact that there were multiple, almost identical replications of this work circulating the art market. Not only was this woman portrayed repeatedly by ter Borch himself, but also by his contemporaries and other later artists. Hanssen has taken this work as a starting point for ten of her own painted interpretations, paraphrases, pastiches and reproductions. She enlightens us with a fresh perspective of the painting and its history of reproduction because in today’s society of technological and digital reproduction this appropriation acquires new meaning. Hanssen ask what is an author? Is anything ever truly original? Or is everyone just reusing and recycling the work of someone else?
Words by Isabelle Morgan; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.