WHAT ARE YOU PORTRAYING?
AN ANALYSIS OF
XENIA HAUSNER’S ART OF PORTRAIT PAINTING
Let us consider Xenia Hausner’s three main subjects. In the works dealing with “injury”, we see ‘the injured” of various catastrophes, some natural, some caused by human error, or they are portrayed as psyches in fear, and everything is imbued with the crisis of death or suicide. In the painting “Shot in the Head”, in which Xenia Hausner depicts herself, the figure is holding, in an ineffable manner, a pistol to her temple, as if the picture had captured a staged moment in a play and is relating it unfiltered to the audience. It is no different in the thematic complex “love”. The pictures are permeated with indescribable states: a wish for love, for example, for a human body, for sexual fulfilment, fantasy and reality. One seems to recognize in these pictures the cluelessness of love in real life. These are scenes of love borrowed from memory: wounded and bygone love, glowing love. And lastly the thematic complex “loneliness”: Xenia Hausner appears to have imbued “loneliness” with the greatest symbolic expression, so that the scenes described are replete with a poetic and likewise peculiar atmosphere. In my opinion, these are among her especially interesting painted works. In “Night of the Scorpions” and “Taomina”, for example, very personal, subjective thoughts of the artist are revealed. The picture seems to be a reproduction of a theatre piece. At the same time, it seems that the artist wanders in a search between past and future. The figures she portrays in pictures involved with her major themes sometimes have an inscrutable, grim smile on their lips. Some live in luxury and proudly reveal their élan according to their possibilities. Others are caught between the past and now. The powerful dramatic and literary effect of their expressions causes various portrayed scenes to be compressed into classical moments. One can sense the restlessness and nervosity of such people caught in the act as if they should be readying themselves for a stage appearance – and one would so much like to learn more about them.
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