BLIND HAPPENING –
CONCERNING ART, CONTINGENCY AND THE RECENT WORKS OF XENIA HAUSNER
“It makes one feel strong to find the images that experience needs. There are several – it should not be too many – because their purpose is to focus reality. In dispersal, reality would atomize and seep away. But it should not be a single image, one that does violence to its owner, never letting him go and stopping him from transforming. One needs several for one’s own life. Should a person find them early on, he loses little of himself.”
Elias Canetti, “THE TORCH IN MY EAR: Autobiography 1921–1931”.
In Xenia Hausner’s pictures there is no playing with an open deck, no way to glean a fixed meaning, a story or even any iconography. A well-known study of western imagery describes the development from icon to narrative, a drifting away from the close-up of the icon which dwells on the face to the placing of whole and holistic figures in a narrative context. In Xenia Hausner’s works, one might say, the circle closes. Her figures have taken leave of the narrative and have become icons again, or, as one likes to express it since pop art: at least they have become images again. All these figures obviously have a story. The question is, what story? Her figures reveal nothing programmatically. “The whole problem with people,” says Blaise Pascal in one of his ‘Pensées’, “can be reduced to a single circumstance: that they cannot stay put quietly in a room.” Xenia Hausner’s figures are restless in this way. Are they unhappy? At any rate, happiness looks different from what is communicated here.
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