Iris Häussler, Also Known As…

April 3rd - May 11th, 2013

It might look like I am crafting and employing my characters, however, I experience it as these people coming into my life and making me their servant. When they leave, it might be a relief or feel like losing a dear friend. Some, like Joseph stay for years. – Iris Häussler

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Also Known As… continues Häussler’s examination of the themes of authorship and hidden identity, a core characteristic of her practice, in the form of sculptures, objects, drawings and concepts.

Häussler invites viewers to examine works “created” by her fictional characters as works of her own. Placed on pedestals and set in vitrines, each object unfolds its sculptural qualities within the pristine setting of the white cube, asking for nothing more than the viewer’s curiosity. Upon second reading, however, the exhibition becomes much more complex: it becomes a group show where Häussler exhibits alongside Mary O’Shea (2008-2010 Art Gallery of Ontario’s  exhibition He Named Her Amber) Ted Wilson (2012 Sydney Biennale) and Joseph Wagenbach (2006). As diverse as all the works appear, they are interconnected by a layer that is beyond the visible.

Throughout her 30-year career, Häussler has obsessively encased objects in wax. The exhibition features a selection of these wax works, which feel like frozen moments in time, and bring together processes and properties of sculpture, painting and photography. Some deal with familial relationships or an individual’s relationship to a familiar space. The act of embedding someone’s personal objects into wax, whether these articles were cherished or abandoned, parallels the photographer’s act of capturing a moment in time, thus producing an object that ignites a sense of memory, time and place for the viewer.

The show also includes an artifact that forms the core of a 150-year-old story – a piece of jewelry that marked a key moment in someone’s first encounter with romantic love, a chimera sculpture symbolizing a man’s never resolved inner trauma.