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Iris Häussler Artist in Residence at Villa Vassilieff, Paris, Spring 2016

Iris Häussler is participating in the FNAGP Residency at Villa Vassilieff, Paris.

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In res­i­dency from April 30 to May 15, 2016

Born in Germany in 1962, Iris Häussler grad­u­ated from the Fine Arts Academy of Munich and cur­rently is based in Toronto, Canada. Häussler’s immer­sive instal­la­tions trace the ten­sion between his­tory, imag­i­na­tion and memory. Through detailed accounts of fic­ti­tious sto­ries, Häussler plays with the boundary of reality and fic­tion, under­scoring the tem­poral weave of his­tory.

Developed in 2009, Häussler’s ongoing pro­ject cur­rently on dis­play at Villa Vassilieff, Sophie La Rosière is rooted in the his­tory of Parisian moder­nity. Following a detailed account of a fic­tional artist who lived in Paris in early twen­tieth cen­tury, Sophie La Rosière redis­covers pos­sible method­olo­gies and canons for under­standing the con­struc­tion of art his­tory.

In the Spring of 2016, Sophie La Rosière is devel­oped by into a two-week res­i­dency between the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques (FNAGP) and the Villa Vassilieff. The res­i­dency pro­gram is an oppor­tu­nity to fur­ther inves­ti­gate the tech­niques of story telling and con­sider mul­tiple method­olo­gies to inter­ro­gate the notion of evi­dence and truth in his­tory.

The Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques (FNAGP), was cre­ated in 1976 with the aid of two bequests to the French state by Hannah Charlotte, Baroness de Rothschild in 1922, and the sis­ters Madeleine Smith-Champion and Jeanne Smith in 1944. The Smith Sisters bequeathed their Château in Nogent-sur-Marne to the state in 1943, where the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques is now located. Iris Häussler’s research takes root in the Smith-Lesouëf Library founded thanks to the legacy of the Smiths sis­ters and admin­is­tered by the FNAGP — an incred­ible site of memory, which is not yet acces­sible to the public. Sophie La Rosière’s biog­raphy crosses that of the Smith sis­ters, as she appears to have befriended Madeleine Smith, a stu­dent and lover of artist Jean-Jacques Henner.

The fic­tional tra­jec­tory of Sophie La Rosière weaves through the biog­raphy of a core char­acter of Montparnasse’s his­tory, that of Russian artist Marie Vassilieff, the founder of an artist studio, school and can­tine on the site of Villa Vassilieff. Anchored in these two sites and the nar­ra­tives built around them, the Sophie La Rosière pro­ject bridges Paris with Toronto (where Iris Häussler’s studio and pro­duc­tion site for Sophie La Rosière’s art­works are located) through mul­tiple con­ver­sa­tions devel­oped with sev­eral cura­tors and orga­ni­za­tions in both cities: Catherine Sicot (Elegoa Cultural Productions), Philip Monk (Art Gallery of York University AGYU), Rui Amaral (Scrap Metal Gallery) and Daniel Faria (Daniel Faria Gallery). Further col­lab­o­ra­tions involve: Mélanie Bouteloup, Virginie Bobin (Villa Vassillief) and former FNAGP director Gérard Alaux. The cre­ative pro­cess includes the par­tic­i­pa­tion of other French orga­ni­za­tions and pro­fes­sionals from var­ious fields: the Centre de recherche et de restau­ra­tion des musées de France (C2RMF), La Maison d’Art Bernard d’Anthonioz, La Maison de Victor Hugo, La Fondation Giacometti, La Sociéte d’his­toire d’Aubervilliers, and psy­cho­an­a­lysts Dominique de Liege and Yan Pelissier.

The Sophie La Rosière pro­ject is sup­ported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and Le Consulat de France à Toronto. Iris Häussler is the recip­ient of a 2016 fel­low­ship pro­vided by La Villa Vassilieff and the FNAGP.