We are pleased to present a solo show by one of Austria’s foremost contemporary painters, Xenia Hausner.
The work of Xenia Hausner acts like a reclamation of moods; moods as a tool that has the function and the honour to present our emotional lives as fact. Women have been refining this tool for centuries as a way to explore the intersections of culture, power, and possibility. Dissembling your mood is a means to retaining power; it brings you strangely closer to capitalism, to all the “norths” Western culture has created. To make your character open, with the expression of your body, eyes, and face, renders you more vulnerable, more of a “south”. Imagine the paintings of Xenia Hausner as a proposition to dramatize, revealing through the portraiture of real people – mostly women – all that we know and fear about intensity, joy, cheerfulness, but also melancholy, apathy, and sadness. Moods and knowledge are unequivocally connected to one another. Have you ever thought about the fact that women can never escape the system of moods? If women have no mood whatsoever, they will be seen as “cold”, and if expressive, a bit foolish, or perhaps just not strong enough. Oh! Can painting actually reverse this fate? Painting has been absorbing faces for centuries. Painting knows about this problem. By giving intense emotions to all the elements in her paintings – the human as well as the non-human – Xenia Hausner creates a world that is filled with women, while bringing the interpretation of their gender and roles to an end. Her work is engaged with questions of self-knowledge, and the ability to speak for one another, and in that sense, to know one another. The historical space painting has afforded to portraiture turned painting and painter into keen and generous observers, with a special and privileged access and language to present the ways in which our feelings are affected and how they in turn affect our world. Painting others allows us to truly see them, and seeing others has the ability to break our isolation from the world – an isolation that was so deeply felt during the pandemic. Painting others, in contrast to other forms of depicting presence, like in movies or on social media, is able to reveal through its archaic forms the relevance, indeed the power, that ordinary moments, gestures, and sentiments can have.
Text: Chus Martinez
XENIA HAUSNER (b. 1951 in Vienna, Austria) lives and works in Vienna and Berlin. The Museum Franz Gertsch in Burgdorf, Switzerland, is currently showing a retrospective previously presented at the Albertina in Vienna and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow (2021). Hausner was also the subject of solo exhibitions at the Palais Populaire, Berlin (2020); the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York (2019); the Palazzo Ducale di Mantova, Mantua (2019); the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava (2018); the Today’s Art Museum, Beijing (2014); the Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong (2014), and elsewhere. Hausner’s work has also been featured in the 8th Moscow Biennale at the State Tretjkov Galerie, Moscow (2019); the Bienalsur, South America’s Art Biennale, Cúcuta, Colombia (2019); and in “Glasstress”, a collateral event accompanying the 57th Venice Biennale in the Palazzo Franchetti, Venice (2017), among many others.
Exhibition created in collaboration with:
COLLABORATIONS from Tania and Thomas Asbaek