“What is most important?” asks the artist on his large mural. He then proceeds to provide part of the answer in the accompanying explanation, where the everyday symbols of the puzzle are explained in Danish, English and Arabic, in order to be inclusive of all who consider themselves Danish:
Being focused (yardstick), keeping up with current trends (clock), clear-sightedness (glasses), my job (hammer), my personal freedom (girl with balloons), my daily food (plates), being part of a movement (road), are all important, but everyone else is the most important! (man with arms outstretched).
Erik Hagens highlights the importance of an existence or social model prioritizing community and solidarity, incorporating his presence as an artist into the work with a ladder. The yardstick shows the measured time of human existence, unfolding from 0-50 years. The stress of modern working life is depicted in the image of a dark, busy highway filled with cars trapped in a universal rush-hour. Above the puzzle lies a naked, sleeping woman. She represents both the original, vulnerable state of humanity and our dreams of a different society and another world.
b. 1940 in Eastern Jutland, lives and works on the island of Møn.