Natalie Häusler. Honey, KIT Düsseldorf

Natalie Haeusler. Honey
KIT Duesseldorf
23.06.2018 – 23.09.2018

“Honey is either very hard or very fluid. If it's hard, it is difficult to cut, since there are no natural breaks. If it's very liquid, it is suddenly all over the place - I assume that you are all familiar with the experience of eating honey in bed at breakfast time.” 1

‘Natalie Haeusler. Honey’ is the fourth solo show in KIT’s (Kunst im Tunnel/ Kunsthalle Duesseldorf) 11-year history, which given its extraordinary architecture and scale presents both a challenge and a particular opportunity for young artists.

Natalie Haeusler’s (1983-) intensive engagement with the tunnel architecture began over a year ago. Her artistic approach involves conceiving spaces or environments in which objects and languages come together organically. Painting and the written word in dialogue constitute her point of departure situated between poetry and visual art. In the process of creating a work, she integrates sculptural, painterly, functional and sound elements.

The ‘Roman de la Rose’ (1230/75), a medieval French allegorical poem on the art of love, was a highly popular text in its own day and provoked one of the first documented instances of feminist literary criticism. The poem’s plot consists of a lengthy dream that plays out within a walled (pleasure) garden, initiating readers into the art of courtly love through a number of ingenious allegories wherein the rose represents female sexuality.

Haeusler created an enclosed garden, loosely associated with the medieval original text, in which a number of states of consciousness are embodied through images, objects and sound. These allegorical figures are developed in a contemporary re-writing and textual transformation of a variety of source texts, that the artist has encountered during her literary research. At the same time, however, the works incorporate themes such as naturopathic treatments, ecology and reform movements.

In her work, ‘Ecology – Sunrise of the Heart’ (2018), viewers are invited to step two at a time onto a hexagonal platform comprising varicolored rhomboidal tiles saturated with organic and mineral-based pigments. Echoing the sculpture ‚Aquascape (Mountain I)’ (2018), an underwater environment supported by a plinth of hand-painted ceramic tile, the platform resembles a positive cast of a dried lake bed or an ancient sea floor, its surface indexed with what appear to be the fossilized remains of aquatic life: algae, kelp and sponges but also – incongruously – sheets of beeswax. At various points on the hexagon, men's voices penetrate the installation's ambient soundscape (a separate composition in six-channel surround sound played on studio monitors) of field-recordings featuring chimes and flowing water. Emanating from ultrasonic speakers overhead, these uncannily proximate voices (rendered audible in the interference patterns created when two high-frequency waves collide with a listener’s body) dispassionately recite peculiar strings of words:

“A sexual orbit is: the most penetrating of the three basic types of ionizing radiation;

A solar hormone is: the energy in a system that is available to perform useful work;

A daughter cell is: located in the Santa Monica mountains between the city of Malibu and the city of Los Angeles, California, and is one of the world’s largest open space preserves inside an urban enclosure;” 2

Like much of Haeusler’s work, ‘Ecology’s’ ‘house’ is thick with strangeness, pitching the viewer into a field of somatic and lexical discontinuities that replace one another incessantly.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the work ‘Bethsabée reste au bains’ (2013/18), which can be seen as an extension of the fountain in medieval garden architectures.

The basin measuring ten meters long and two meters wide is a Kneipp bath filled with knee-high, ice-cold water, which also functions as a sound sculpture. This special form of bath was developed by Sebastian Kneipp for hydro-therapy around the end of the nineteenth century. Kneipp therapy additionally includes the use of herbal extracts, exercise and dietary recommendations, thereby aligning itself with the ‘Lebensreform’ movements that developed around the same time in opposition to industrialisation.

The basin’s tiled exterior was made by the artist, applying a single letter on each unfired tile by hand, which was then covered with a purple craquelling glaze. In doing so, she created a continuous text in which the letters resemble watercolors. The graphic symbols inscribed under the glaze seem to swim, visually enhancing the presence of water.

Haeusler’s poem ‘Bethsabée reste au bains’ is a re-writing of the biblical story of Bathsheba and King David. While Bathsheba plays a rather passive role in the original text, in Haeusler’s version she becomes the main protagonist, driving the action in her own particular way:

“Devastated / she went / underwater. / Underwater / she couldn’t / smell anything anymore, / which was exactly / what she aimed for./ But he was still waiting / at the edge of the pool / with his letter, / this king on a mission/ to be and to make history, / while she wanted/     to smell nothing, / which was / a very different aim / of course. / The water was /like a skin surrounding her skin, / while she was / like a gap within / this liquid, / her body an interruption of the     allover. / She knew well then / how to make use / of her solid state, / and finally felt / that she understood / the advantages of being / a lump of flesh, / feeling the contact / with each thing in a different way, / and feeling herself differently / depending on what she was touched by. / Then the water turned upside down and she found herself in an oval shaped room. It seemed as if she had in fact, in some way, traveled through the swimming pool to another place. Lack of oxygen must have caused this architectural space to take shape, the double oval ∞.” 3

Text: Anna-Lena Roeßner / Matthew Rana

1 Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959-1960), Seminar VII.  
    Porter trans., Routledge, London, 1992, p.19.
2 Natalie Häusler, excerpt from ‘ECOLOGY - Sunrise of the Heart’, 2017/18
3 Natalie Häusler, excerpt from ‘Bethsabée reste au bains’, 2013/18

Topanga Fever: an Essay on Voice, Poetry and the Senses for Natalie Häusler. Honey


Q: Under what circumstances does the poem emerge?

A: Assuming a world exists? Bodies and a language. A speaker and a receiver who share that language.

Among the earliest known writing surfaces are tablets coated in beeswax or unfired clay. Both materials are highly receptive, and thus well-suited for inscription with a stylus; in addition, marks made in clay and wax are 'erased' with relative ease, and tablets can be quickly resurfaced and subsequently reused. Such malleability made them an economical solution for the scribes, amanuenses and other slaves of antiquity whose job it was to take dictation from their masters, recording and temporarily storing information – such as accounts and inventories – too transitory to either carve in stone or commit to costly papyrus scrolls. Not all inscription was so instrumental, however: personal correspondence, notes and even hymns have been discovered scrawled into these ancient surfaces. Drawings, too.

While archaeological evidence suggests that the use of ceramic tablets began to diminish as early as the Bronze Age, beeswax surfaces remained commonly in use well into the medieval period, and according to some accounts as late as the mid-19th century, by which time wax had been industrially recomposed into petroleum-based paraffin, and given application in different (if not entirely so) methods of inscription.

In his 1919 essay entitled ‘Primal Sound’, Rainer Maria Rilke writes of a science experiment undertaken during his childhood:

our science master… encouraged us to try our skill in making [a phonograph] from the material that lay nearest to hand. Nothing more was needed than a piece of pliable cardboard bent to the shape of a funnel, on the narrower orifice of which was stuck a piece of impermeable paper of the kind used to bottle fruit. This provided a vibrating membrane, in the middle of which we struck a bristle from a coarse clothes brush at right angles to its surface. With these few things one part of the mysterious machine was made, receiver and reproducer were complete. It now only remained to construct the receiving cylinder, which could be moved close to the needle marking the sounds by means of a small rotating handle. I do not remember what we made it of; there was some kind of cylinder which we covered with a thin coating of candle wax to the best of our ability. …what impressed itself on my memory most deeply was not the sound from the funnel but the markings traced on the cylinder.

Several years later, while studying anatomy at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the poet identifies by way of a “rhythmic peculiarity of imagination” an analogous set of markings in the skull’s coronal suture, the junction formed between the two parietal bones and the frontal bone of the cranium. He speculates that these mysterious marks might too be played like the wax cylinder of his childhood phonograph. In this nameless inscription, a poet who thinks the human through the non-human language of things envisions a kind of writing without writers – a primal sound surpassing voice.

Rilke, however, is discontent. For to “complete” the coronal suture's cipher in such a way would present yet another problem: that of the transfer of experience from one sense to another. In order to render the world in sufficient clarity and detail, he argues, the modern European poet must isolate the five senses such that each sector may be individually developed and extended toward the immaterial plane – or put differently, the eternal domain of the poem. As if experience was distributed through human technological innovation and discrete media channels. Knowledge of these sensory rifts is, Rilke adds, the poet's privileged burden. Which is why, remarking on the opinions of “a lady” who perceives in his radical phonography a “wonderful and simultaneous capacity and achievement of all the senses,” nothing short of “the presence of mind and grace of love... the sublime reality of the poem,” the renowned author mansplains that rather than giving proof of love, the transfer of sense suggested by primal sound actually risks the “splendid danger” of the lover who, situated at the center of the known and the incomprehensible, is overwhelmed by an abundance of simultaneous sensory impressions that lack any individual character. More simply put, poems risk becoming noise. Such spatial and sonic dislocation of course will not do, lest poems lie vulnerable to the contingencies of time. Because love (like politics) is fleeting, proclamations made under its influence cannot endure poetry's non-temporal requirements. Nothing real can pass through its filter. But in offering vocalizations to reorient the very senses that it previously separated, the phonograph needle promises a miracle to the poet lost in feeling: the time-stamp of the work of art.

Nearly sixty years later, following the efforts of Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs, Canadian sound-poet Steve McCaffery redistributed voice along another axis in ‘Sound Poetry – A Survey': the cut-up ‘voice-time’ of magnetic audiotape. “Voice becomes a point of departure rather than the point of arrival,” he writes. “The tape recorder, however, allows speech – for the first time in its history – a separation from voice.” Whereas the traces on a wax cylinder, and to a certain extent the coronal suture, preserve a certain amount of temporal continuity, the ‘primal sound’ of audiotape emerges from its spatial properties for multiplication and recombination, non-linear recording and playback. (McCaffery's own work, as well as that of The Four Horsemen group in which he was a member, often features aggressive, 'primal' vocalizations that are as evocative of punk as they are of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetics with which he is often associated.) Just two years after French writer and theorist Hélène Cixous famously proposed the development of an écriture féminine, writing that inscribes into language the specificities of female embodiment and sexual difference, the modernist male dream of separating speech, voice and body had achieved fruition. Liberated from the particularities of bodies and the real-time of performance – i.e. its semantic content – the poem had at last been overtaken by the machine.

As they encode sound into binary sequences of presence and absence, today’s digital recording technologies transform speech, voice and body numerically, returning them in a sense to the accounts and inventories of antiquity; the master’s voice mingling with the computer-generated speech of so-called ‘digital assistants’ (whose names, not coincidentally, are gendered). More strangely perhaps, the poem has once again found a home in the real-time of live-performance, and a body of sorts in allegory. As Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman argue in their 2009 book Notes on Conceptualisms, if allegory builds toward an idea, then “all conceptual writing is allegorical writing.” To read or otherwise experience a written work, therefore, becomes unnecessary as long as one 'gets' the idea. Like Rilke, who a century before imagined a mechanized reading of the human skull, Place and Fitterman localize a system that transcends the material plane of somatic experience: that of information.

From coronal suture phonography to magnetic audiotape and the algorithm, the history of the poem as a form of storage and retrieval for the human voice is, like so many tablets of clay and wax, smoothed over and resurfaced. Presaged several years prior by Roland Barthes in a well-known essay for Avalanche magazine, the body of the author is supplanted by the image of a reader, discrete and autonomous poems by disseminated and networked texts. Given this historical schema, it is fair to wonder: what became of the reader's body? Under late-capitalism's semiotic regime of value creation, information technologies and data harvesting, sense experience is something of a premium; and the poem's domain is no longer the lofty realm of the eternal, but an earth-bound abjection that is both economic and social (so-called Instapoets notwithstanding). Precarious and fragile, poems at present require communities, architectures and environments to support them. In such a context, any attempts to attest to their reality, sublime or otherwise, may depend precisely on following the voice of Rilke's anonymous “lady” interlocutor. That is to say, by restaging their relationship to reception, the contingencies of embodiment, time, and sense experience – in other words, their “presence of mind and grace of love.” 

In her work, Ecology – Sunrise of the Heart (2018), German artist and poet Natalie Häusler does just this. Viewers are invited to step two at a time onto a hexagonal platform comprising varicolored rhomboidal tiles saturated with organic and mineral-based pigments. Echoing her sculpture Aquascape (Mountain I) (2018), an underwater environment supported by a plinth of hand-painted ceramic tile, the platform resembles a positive cast of a dried lake bed or an ancient sea floor, its surface indexed with what appear to be the fossilized remains of aquatic life: algae, kelp and sponges but also – incongruously – sheets of beeswax. With so many textures underfoot, standing on the platform becomes a challenge (at times painful), as does maintaining a steady balance; one must proceed with care. At various points on the hexagon, men's voices penetrate the installation's ambient soundscape (a separate composition in six-channel surround sound played on studio monitors) of field-recordings featuring chimes and flowing water. Emanating from ultrasonic speakers overhead, these uncannily proximate voices (rendered audible in the interference patterns created when two high-frequency waves collide with a listener’s body) dispassionately recite peculiar strings of words:

A sexual orbit is: the most penetrating of the three basic types of ionizing radiation;

A solar hormone is: the energy in a system that is available to perform useful work;

A daughter cell is: located in the Santa Monica mountains between the city of Malibu and the city of Los Angeles, California, and is one of the world’s largest open space preserves inside an urban enclosure;

and so on. What at first glance appears to be among Häusler's least 'poetic' works (at least in the conventional sense), upon further hearing reveals a series of ecopoetical operations.

Ecopoetics is a term that emerged in the late 20th century to describe a broad range of contemporary approaches to poetry with focus on relationships between human beings and their environment – from work addressing environmental injustice to the human capacity for becoming-animal. Often eschewing traditional forms of Nature writing in favor of “creative-critical edges between writing and ecology,” such approaches tend toward the interdisciplinary and experimental, for instance, modeling non-human communication systems, feedback, or even quotidian practices such as recycling. Described in somewhat simpler terms by Jonathan Skinner, editor of the influential journal ecopoetics (2001-2009), “'Eco' here signals – no more, no less – the house we share with several million other species, our planet Earth. 'Poetics' is used as poiesis or making... Thus ecopoetics: a house making.”

Like much of Häusler's work, Ecology's 'house' is thick with strangeness, pitching the viewer into a field of somatic and lexical discontinuities that replace one another incessantly. For this intermedia environment, the artist has appropriated the geometry of honeycomb, as well as terms from The Dictionary of Ecology and Environmental Science (1993) – a reference book aimed at compiling and standardizing vocabulary around environmental concerns such as pollution, endangered species and waste disposal. Here, freighted pairs such as 'air quality' and 'gamma radiation' (terms that flank the gallery's main hall in the form of silkscreen prints on fabric stretched over stretcher bars) are decoupled and recombined at random by a computer program; these new terms are then re-attached to chance definitions, generating combinations that have no logical, factual or 'natural' consistency. Topanga Canyon, whose definition is cited above, might thus become a device for measuring the depth of the ocean, a type of fog, or a carnivorous plant.

The contradiction staged here between the urgencies evoked by the term 'ecology', and the non-instrumentality embodied by any poem, spans discursive rifts separating our present moment from that of the dictionary's publication, a mere twenty-five years prior. Terms such as 'Alpine Tundra', or 'Arctic Sea Smoke' become as unstable as their real-world referents following nearly three decades of global warming and climate change. Notably absent, moreover, are terms such as 'anthropocene', 'colony collapse', and 'sustainability' that have in recent years entered into the vernacular – for English-speakers, at any rate. Instead, one hears of 'cloud therapy', 'inclusive fitness', and 'conceptual camouflage', a strangely Californian vocabulary at once semiotically abundant, yet semantically deficient. But unlike, for example, poems generated using N+7 – a procedure which substitutes every noun in a source-text with the noun appearing seven entries ahead in the dictionary – Ecology's composition is dynamic. Its 'voice-time' is in a constant state of flux, ensuring that the language doesn't ossify into jargon, or congeal into genres such as satire or critique. Indeed, the combinations that it yields aren't particularly absurd or undermining. Rather, they take on a generative quality of potential as they elaborate new affinities and networks of association.

At stake then in these acts of naming and renaming is not only human relationships to scale, speed, temporality, and complexity, but epistemology as well – our ways of knowing and engaging with the world at large. Points, in Rilkean terms, at which the known and the incomprehensible converge. That Ecology should call into question modern desires to isolate, rationalize and fix objects – including human language, voice and sense perception – within empiricist frameworks is, therefore, fundamental to its poiesis, which owes as much to Ovid as it does to Oulipo. For taken up here are precisely the forms of relationship that are situated by embodied experience: what can be intuited, felt and transmitted, but not exhaustively or quantitatively known. Call it Nature, the unconscious, or even primal sound. Triangulating sight, hearing and touch, Häusler's work distributes orders of attention where such alterity might be received.

However, in its lexical fragmentation, ambient sounds, and disembodied voices, Häusler's environment doesn't attempt to restore, express or simulate the full range of sensory experience; such approaches would be too naïve, coherent or spectacular. The colors and geometries don't symbolize a premodern utopia or model a future homeostasis; if anything, the platform seems to mark catastrophe. Following Jacques Lacan, the Real that it posits is registered in dialogue with cybernetic systems, media technologies, and other 'communication effects' that in his lecture 'Pleasure and Reality' (one of Häusler's references for this exhibition) the psychoanalyst compared to the experience of eating honey in bed. Neither strictly a raw, unmediated mass, nor – as is the case with phonograph needles and wax cylinders – an undifferentiated stream of flows, it is rather a matter of both-and. Not only are distinct sensory sectors brought to bear on viewers' bodies, but the distances that separate them as well – the knowledge of which was once solely the possession of European (white, male) poets. As in meditation practices that cultivate states of bare awareness in which sensation is met openly and without judgment, viewers are immersed in instances of heightened receptivity: an abundance of simultaneous sense impressions that cannot be easily reconciled or neatly resolved in a single idea, term, or 'channel'. On the contrary, oriented and disoriented by these oscillations of surplus and deficit, viewers here modulate between cognitive and affective states. Or, somewhat more lyrically, between presence of mind and grace of love. Sunrise of the heart, indeed.

Sex,” as Häusler writes in her book-length poem ‘Corals’ (2015) “is the ecology of the poem.” When read alongside concerns in Sunrise of the Heart, this rather provocative line suggests that the poem can only emerge in encounters between bodies broadly defined – in the worldly eroticism and pleasure of being-together, to and for one another, that is continually formed and transformed through language. Indeed, it is through such a reciprocity of life and language that poems are realized, and enter into relationship with the different organisms, processes, and structures (more often than not of a provisional sort) by which they are supported. Like coral – or honeycomb for that matter – this becoming-form is radically vulnerable. In environments that localize the poem's agency in the bodies of its receivers, Häusler's work figures it as co-emergence. For voice alone makes neither for a house, nor the mouth's most splendid dangers. As the Needles, California-born poet Alice Notley (a favorite of the artist) aptly puts it, “this is the body speaking – the physiology of my vision is also clouds & sky & grass & paintings. My skin makes words – fingertip and tongue. Let’s touch tongues.” 

-- Matthew Rana



veröffentlicht im Magazin Von Hundert


Aus der Perspektive des Freundes und Modells für eine Skulptur zu schreiben ist eine Perspektive auf die Arbeit die privater und komplexer nicht sein könnte. Sie erzeugt Unbehagen. Der Literaturwissenschaftler Peter Szondi interpretierte 1971 ein Gedicht seines Freundes Paul Celan, dessen Entstehung er als Zeuge beiwohnte. Seine Interpretation ist teils biographischer Bericht, teils Interpretation und bleibt ein Fragment und vergeblicher Versuch. Er bezeugt Zeitgenossenschaft, jedoch eine die auf zeitlichen Verschiebungen, Alterität zwischen Künstler und Kritiker, Kunstwerk und Lebensrealität basiert. Die Temporalität der Zeitgenossenschaft bleibt asynchron2 und ein Zusammenkommen wird immer nur antizipiert.


C: Adah wir müssen gleich zu Lidl, noch einkaufen gehen, ja?/ A: I canʼt go to the motorbike anymore / C: I didnʼt say motorbike, I said Lidl Adah. We are going to Lidl now! We have to buy some food. / A: No!3


Am 6.5.2017 zeichnete Natalie Häusler Interviews mit mir und meinen beiden Töchtern auf. Thema der Gespräche war die Angst meiner jüngsten Tochter Adah vor einem Motorrad in unserem Haus. Die Soundcollage “Loving the motor-cycle, 2017, 29:12 min, (MP3 Player, Kopfhörer, Motorrad) ist eine Komposition aus Gesprächsfragmenten und Sequenzen ätherischer Synthesizerklänge und Vocals des Tracks You, aufgenommen bei einem Konzert der Band “Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer.”4 Die Auswahl und Neuanordnung des Gesprächsmaterials zeugt von Häuslers soziologischer Herangehensweise an diese Arbeit. Die Protagonisten sind weiblich, vom Kleinkind, zur Jugendlichen bis zur Erwachsenen, sie antworten unvorbereitet auf Fragen der Künstlerin.

Das konkrete Objekt erscheint dabei sowohl in der Ausstellung als auch in der Soundcollage: In der Ausstellung sitzt der Besucher selbst auf einer Honda CRF 250 L Enduro und hört den Sound über Kopfhörer. In der Soundcollage zeichnen zwei Szenen Adahs Begegnung mit dem Motorrad auf. Sie binden die selektiven Ausschnitte aus dem Interview in ein loses Narrativ. Häusler entwickelt dabei eine Form des Schreiben, die soziologisch motiviert, mit unmittelbar aus ihrem Leben genommen Protagonisten arbeitet. Diese verlieren ihren spezifischen biographischen Bezug in der Arbeit. Das Motorrad als Fetisch fordert jedoch die Bindung der Protagonisten zum ausgestellten Objekt repetitiv und kontinuierlich ein. Die Arbeit wird zur pendelnden Meditation über den Zusammenhang zwischen Angst und Obsession, zu einer sich wiederholenden, durch die Maschine vermittelten Auseinandersetzung mit psychischen Zuständen, zyklisch/ hormonell, “motor” und “cycle”. Die szenische Abfolge ist aber auch durch Humor, bildhafte Sprache und den emotional suggestiv changierenden Soundtrack geprägt, so dass sie die Angst und die Faszination mit der Maschine in ein bejahendes “loving” auflöst.


C: Meine Mutter hat ja als ich Jugendliche war immer zu mir gesagt, dass man sich ab und zu mal entpuppt wie so eine Schlange. Das ist so.5


Im vorigen Jahr hatte Natalie Häusler eine andere Skulptur in enger Verbindung mit einer Soundcollage entwickelt, die eine ähnliche Involviertheit der Protagonisten mit dem Objekt dokumentierte. “Der Reim / The Rhyme, 2016, 15:17 min, ist ein Extrakt aus ca. 40 Stunden Tonaufnahmen, aufgezeichnet während der Abformung der Körper von Eric und mir für die Skulpturen “Vacuum Bed No.2 (Christine) und “Vacuum Bed No.1 (Eric)”, (Gips, Latex, Seile, Kabel, Metall, Plastikschlauch, Vakuumpumpe, Timer, 210 x 110 x 50 cm.) Die Skulpturen wurden im Frühjahr 2016 in der Ausstellung “Der Reim/The Rhyme (Kunstverein Bielefeld, 2016), und dann in einem zweiten Environment dieses Jahr in Berlin in “Hello from Rue Desert(Supportico Lopez, 2017) gezeigt. Vakuumbetten ähnlicher Bauart werden in der Bondage und BDSM Praxis verwendet. Der gesamte Körper wird hierbei mittels Unterdruck in Latex eingeschlossen. Dafür wird ein Holzrahmen von einer Latexhülle, die durch einen luftdichten Reißverschluss zugänglich gemacht wird, umspannt. Durch ein Ventil kann mit einer Vakuumpumpe die Luft abgesaugt werden, wodurch der Körper in seiner Position fixiert und dadurch eine sensorische Deprivation auslöst wird. In der Skulptur befinden sich in einem ähnlich konstruierten Vakuumbett anstelle eines lebenden Körpers Gipsabdrücke von einzelnen Körperteilen, aber auch vom kompletten Torso. Die Körperfragmente scheinen frei in der Skulptur zu schweben, einige Körperteile tauchen dabei vielfach auf während andere fehlen.

N: You are not the kind of person that wants to be in a vacuum bed? / E: No definitely not. It‘s funny how this must be a very similar experience. / N: Yeah, I think so.6

Die Herstellung der Abgüsse fand im Winter 2015 in Natalie Häuslers Atelier statt. Ich lag auf einer Liege während warme Gipsbinden auf meinen Körper aufgetragen wurden. Ziel dieser Sitzposition war es unter anderem auch ein freies, assoziatives Sprechen anzuregen. Häusler zeichnete unsere Gespräche während dieser Sitzungen auf. Aus diesen Aufzeichnungen wurden einzelne Szenen für die Soundcollage entnommen. Dabei werden Geräusche des Arbeitsvorgangs hörbar. Die Nähe des Mikrofons zum Körper und zum Material generiert eine Atmosphäre der Intimität im Bezug zum Modell, zum Künstler und zur im Entstehen begriffenen Skulptur. Die Lebendigkeit der Protagonisten tritt stark in den Vordergrund – sie lachen, schreien, diskutieren, erheben Einwände, äußern Unbehagen, stellen Fragen – Aspekte, die in der Skulptur selbst nicht sichtbar sind. Sie wird durch die Gespräche verbal umschrieben und gewissermaßen zum Leben erweckt. Die Arbeitsatmosphäre des Ateliers, indirekt kommentiert durch die sich verändernde Musik im Hintergrund, wird von deutsch/ englischen Reimgruppen durchbrochen, abwechselnd rezitiert von Eric oder mir, Wortfelder entstehen, die Bezüge zu völlig unterschiedlichen Bereichen aufblitzen lassen und dabei Mikronarrative erzeugen: Messer, besser, lesser, professor / root, boot, gut, Mut / Bett, fett, nett, rat, mat / wear, care, fair, leer / schreien, lion.7 Die Reimstruktur bindet die Spuren des Arbeitsvorgangs an ein Schema der Lautwiederholung.

Im Objekt selbst ist eine eigene Geschichte der Herstellung schon sedimentiert, die von den spezifischen materiellen Eigenschaften des Vakuumbetts, geprägt wurde. Die Skulptur als Teil der weiterentwickelten Arbeit verliert zunächst den direkten Bezug zum Prozess und dessen Protagonisten. Doch das Vakuumbett soll unmittelbaren Kontakt von Material und Körper ermöglichen und den Körper in seiner absoluten Spezifizität fassen. Dies sind schon selbst die Variablen, die die spezifischen Protagonisten nicht mehr aus der Skulptur eliminierbar machen. Die Vakuumbetten verweisen formal kontinuierlich auf die Spezifität des Körpers, ohne diesen dabei selber als Inhalt zu konstituieren oder ausformulieren zu müssen. Die Komponente des Fetisch überschreibt diese Methode der Reproduktion pathologisch, als eine Form der Zwangshandlung. Sie verankert Lust und Körperempfinden in einem strengen Schema der Wiederholung (= Reim). Die psychopathologische Dynamik ist somit die Ausgangslage für ein in Form verwirklichtes Schema der Wiederholung und Selbstreferentialität.

Die Inklusion von Dokumenten und Spuren des Arbeitsprozesses ist dabei an das selbe Gesetz der Selbstreferentialität und Wiederholung gebunden. Dieses mise en abyme Verfahren, die Verdoppelung und das Selbstzitat der eigenen Arbeit innerhalb des von ihr festgelegten Rahmens, ist aber nicht unbedingt durch genaues Reproduzieren realisiert. Eher verweist die Beschreibung des Entstehungsprozesses das fertige Objekt immer wieder auf seinen noch unfertigen Zustand, in dem die Protagonisten noch eine zentralere Rolle spielten. “[It is a way of] inserting its memory into the piece, letting it think about itself, its past, its youth, middle age, its wetness and dryness.”8 (Robert Morris in seinen Notizen zu “Continuous Project Altered Daily” (1969)) Die Selbstreferentialität wird zu einer Form des Erinnerns, einer Einschreibung von Erlebtem, Biographischem und dem lebendigen Körper in das Material.

Mein Körper, der Symptome produzierte, mein brüchiges Sprechen, unser Denken, ist in den Gips und in diesem Text eingelagert. Das direkte Beschreiben der Szenen des Arbeitsvorgangs, und der Arbeiten wird (Auto)biographie, verweist latent auf meine unstete Körperlichkeit. Wir überleben die Arbeit und uns selbst darin. Es ist eine Art und Weise miteinander zu interagieren mit der wir schon als Teenager experimentiert haben.

Das Environment richtet seine Vektoren, innerhalb des installativen Rahmens, nicht nur auf die im Raum versammelten Elemente, sondern auch auf ihre Vor-und Nachwelt aus. Von Material zu Gespräch, von Skulptur zu Text, suchen sie, in einer zeitlichen Wiederholungsschleife kontinuierlich nach Orten der Formwerdung.

Work” is amidst change.

It is without predefinition from

a material, from modes that are plugged

in, or attached.

It is not in context with what is

named an “installation”

The air, the light of the sun,

the water, the dialogue of people

can't be affixed or “installed”

What could be called “work” would be

in concert with the whole of work

and with what is in continuous

movement as is language itself. 9

(Maria Nordman, De Sculptura,
Works In The City, 1986)

1Erwin Panofsky, Et in Arcadia Ego: Poussin und die Tradition des Elegischen, 1936. Panofsky beschreibt die Wandlung des Arkadienmotivs anhand eines Interpretationskonflikts zwischen zwei von Poussins Biographen, die auch mit ihm befreundet waren. Siehe Arkadienmotive, Locus Amoenus in N. Häusler, Hello from Rue Desert (2017)

2Terry Smith, “The Contemporary Question”, in Ed. T. Smith, O. Enwezor, N. Condee: Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity and Contemporaneity (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).

3 Auszug aus “Loving the motor-cycle, 2017, 29:12 min, (MP3 Player, Kopfhörer, Motorrad)

4 Loving the motor-cycle“, 2017, 29:12 min (MP3 Player, Kopfhörer, Motorrad), gezeigt im Rahmen der Ausstellung „Parkplatztreffen 2“ des Kunstverein St. Pauli in Hamburg ist eine Komposition aus Interviews mit Christine Schott und ihren Töchtern Adah und Sonja, die brückenartig verbunden sind durch Aufnahmen eines Livekonzerts der befreundeten Musiker Weston Minissali und Brad Henkel (Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer, Feb. 2016, Roulette, NY).

5 Auszug aus “Der Reim / The Rhyme, 2016, 15:17 min

6Auszug aus “Der Reim / The Rhyme, 2016, 15:17 min

7Auszug aus “Der Reim / The Rhyme, 2016, 15:17 min

8Robert Morris, “Continuous Project Altered Daily”, Notes by Morris on Thursday March 20, 1969, notebook, Robert Morris Archives, Gardiner, NY, entn

9 Maria Nordman, De Sculptura, Works In The City, S.10 


Bild 1: Loving the motor-cycle, 2017
Installationsansicht, Kunstverein St Pauli, Hamburg 
MP3 Player, Kopfhörer, Motorrad 
29:12 min, Maße variabel

Bild 2: Vacuum Bed No.2 (Christine), 2016 
Installationsansicht, Supportico Lopez, Berlin 
Latex, Gips, Seile, Kabel, Metall, Plastikschlauch,Vakuumpumpe, Timer 
210 x 110 x 50 cm

Bild 3: Im Atelier während der Arbeit an Vacuum Bed No.2 (Christine), Februar 2016



“Sex,” writes German artist and poet Natalie Häusler in her book-length poem Corals “is the ecology of the poem.” Or put differently, a poem can only exist in the relationships between bodies – in the eroticism of being-together that is continually formed and transformed through language. For 'Corals', her second solo-show at Supportico Lopez, Häusler continues her investigations into the relationships between visual-art practice and the poem as a lived phenomena. Using a combination of sound, painting, sculpture and text, 'Corals' proposes an environment in which Häusler's homonymous poem can live.

Like the poem itself – which plays with its homophone 'choral', ebbing and flowing in various directions, using saturated imagery and linguistic shifts in order to explore a diversity of themes such as solitude and symbiosis – Häusler's exhibition presents viewers with a number of fluid forms. Together, the body of works on view coalesce to evoke a nightclub setting – drunkenness, rhythm and sweat. A series of coral-colored doors made from acoustic dampening foam, while referencing notions of access, privacy and silence, stage intimate encounters within the gallery space. Palm-shaped agglomerations of fossilized coral, oysters, bracelets and audio-adapters. Elsewhere, an audio recording of Corals, read by several protagonists who had a role in the poem's emergence, plays inside a bar-like sculpture that features printed excerpts from the poem immersed, along with aquatic plants, in wine bottles. Other works further allude to the act of writing and its affective register as an anonymous message addressed to nothing and no one in particular. “Hugging, nodding, walking.”

A poem might be worthless outside its limited readership, an abject and fragile ornament. But as Häusler suggests, it wants to be warm, to be felt, to be plastic, to be recycled and rejected. It also “wants to be / graveyard.” But not to annihilate itself. The poem wants to remember. When was the last time you left a club and it was morning?

Matthew Rana


Natalie Häusler, Corals 

2 April – 25 April 2015 

Supportico Lopez 
Kurfürstenstrasse 14/b 
10785 Berlin

In the Company of Flesh and Blood

Natalie Häusler, Aykan/Casino, 2013, stained glass, speakers, mp3 player, sound, book page from ‘still life’, 78 × 48 × 16 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Supportico Lopez, Berlin; photograph: Hans-Georg Gaul

In the Company of Flesh and Blood

Approaching sincerity via poetry and art

by Matthew Rana

It was a question of sincerity that, in 1964, prompted then-poet Marcel Broodthaers to announce that he was becoming an artist. For the first time in his life, he claimed, he wanted to make something insincere: ‘I, too, wondered whether I couldn’t sell something and succeed in life,’ he declared in the invitation to his first exhibition. ‘I had, for quite a little while, been good for nothing. I am nearly 40 years old […] The idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work at once.’ Broodthaers’s rhetoric doesn’t just suggest visual art’s compromised status, sold as a commodity or an instrument of the culture industry or institutions of state. It also implicitly elevates poetry as neither false nor hypocritical – an invention of the utmost integrity. Unlike artists, poets don’t (or can’t) sell out. ...

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FRIEZE FOCUS: Painting, poetry and measuring movement

Case Mod, Mixed media, Installation view Supportico Lopez, Berlin, 2013 (courtesy: the artist and Supportico Lopez, Berlin, Photograph: Hans-Georg Gaul)


Painting, poetry and measuring movement

by Jennifer Allen

What a mess. When I walked into Natalie Häusler’s solo show Case Mod at Supportico Lopez, Berlin in January, I expected to find the work I’d seen on the gallery’s website. The installation shots of monika/subway (floor piece) (2012) promised a neat grid of cardboard tiles, painted in bright acrylic colours and covering the gallery’s main floor. By the time I arrived, the tiles were wildly scattered and marred by dusty footprints. Häusler had fastidiously positioned them but failed to use glue. The mingling of guests at the opening had displaced them over the course of the evening. The most beaten footpath near the entrance bore the brunt of the destruction while tiles near the walls were untrampled. As an itinerary, monika/subway started as a grid of happy shades, only to end up mapping visitor traffic. But it was disturbing to see in one fell swoop this gradual accumulation of movement, which suggested a disaster and its victims, say, or the path of a tornado and the stampede of people escaping. Only then did it occur to me that a twister in slow-motion might look like a ballet of objects. And that Häusler’s installation might be about measuring movement, speed, duration – a kind of action painting in an expanded field. ...

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Natalie Häusler, RYB/RGB/CMYK (red), 2011

Courtesy: Supportico Lopez, Berlin. Photo: Warhus Rittershaus


The artists Gerry Bibby and Natalie Häusler, both based in Berlin, weave their works of sculpture, installation and performance around text sources. Sharing the particularity of using a process that starts with words, the two artists produce an equally original conversation as a result of a fleeting encounter and an exchange of their writings and poems. here's the outcome: thoughts on the meaning of their respective practices, in a dense, poetic attempt to track down and explore common ground.

Find the article here:


Artforum Critics' Picks: Natalie Häusler


Natalie Häusler

by Aaron Bogart

SUPPORTICO LOPEZ Kurfürstenstrasse 14/b January 11–February 16

Combining sound, painting, text, and sculptural elements, Natalie
Häusler’s latest exhibition, “Case Mod,” blurs the division between
engaging with an artwork sensorially and approaching it cerebrally.
Spreading across the gallery’s floor is a Color Field painting
consisting of cardboard tiles washed in vibrant acrylic paint. Titled
Subway/Monika (floor piece) (all works 2012), the piece evokes the
Emergency Broadcast System image that used to flash across
television screens. Hung on the gallery wall are ten sculptures:
Each is made of broken stained glass and consists of shelves on
which an MP3 player and speakers play sound tracks featuring the
voices of the artist’s friends reciting poetry she has penned herself.
In order to hear each poem, one must lean in—but the edges of
each piece are sharp, acting almost as warnings not to get too
close. The texts of the respective poems are printed on transparent paper and draped over the top of each shelf, softening the boundaries of the shelves and almost turning them into works of concrete poetry.

The title of the show comes from case modification, the practice of altering the chassis of a computer hard drive in an attempt to show off some special or unique feature. While the only thing being modified in the gallery is the floor, and then only nonpermanently, the works in this exhibition activate the viewer’s capacity to transform a complex of sound, text, and art into his or her own artistically enjoyable experience.

— Aaron Bogart

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Sculpture Center, Curators' Notebook

by Kristen Chappa

July 17-24, 2011
UBS Gallery
Red Hook, NY

Bard MFA Thesis Exhibition

Bard’s MFA Thesis show proved worth the hot, dusty trip to the UBS gallery in Red Hook, NY—a pole barn transformed into a sizable exhibition space. The show featured all twenty-six members of the 2011 graduating class working with, and between, the mediums of drawing, installation, painting, photography, sculpture, text, and video.

Natalie Häusler’s work would typically be identified as installation, however the artist conceived of her thesis project as a type of expanded-field painting. For the piece We are getting a little bit too close here, the artist examined interior design and architecture, borrowing marks and color palettes from tiles as well as cropped graphic forms found in educational institutions. Covering constructed walls, flooring, and shelves, her gridded and layered composition remains within, and strays outside of, self-prescribed bounds. Using disparate mediums such as laser prints, fabric, vinyl tiles, and acrylic paint, Häusler draws attention to the surfaces of these physical structures, while simultaneously delving into illusionistic space. Ultimately, the piece exhibits its own self-consciousness—calling attention to its context as an institutional site of art education.

A selection from Chris Austin’s Notations project, on display in a dedicated room, belongs to a highly sculptural strain of contemporary photography. The project draws from an archive of 501 black and white photographs shot at the artist’s childhood home in Chicago over the past seven years. An image of the backyard, Untitled, is the largest and most prominent. In it, a central form that appears to be both static and moving is shrouded in black cloth and surrounded by fallen leaves, barren tree branches, and a blank white sky. Other smaller pieces in the series are multiple-exposure amalgams of shots taken from different vantage points inside of the house—the additive results of 27, 35, 59, or all 501 photographs generate curious and minimal geometric forms. The blurriness of their edges and status as abstraction supports Austin’s aim—to create a kind of prosthesis for memory, while delving into the murky space between what is tangible and intangible. He trades in mystery and obscurity, resisting full disclosure of his subject matter. The aesthetic is dark and ominous, presenting memory, time, and space as unknowable, otherworldly specters.

Reminiscent of Postminimalist Gordon Matta-Clark’s (and more recently, Monica Bonvicini’s) propensity for breaking surfaces or slicing through architecture, Adam Marnie enacts smaller, serial acts of aesthetic destruction that engage both the mechanisms of photography and the languages of sculpture and painting. In the main UBS gallery, his Camera Incidere spans four walls spaced at set intervals. Together, the walls and the artworks hung on them manipulate the distance between a windowed roll-gate and a large photo-collage at the back of the room. Each of the intermediary walls are linked by mounted drawings and photographs that breach their own frames, display constructed fissures in drywall, and allow the viewer to gaze through aperture-like peep-holes. The work changes according to the conditions of the gallery—the amount of light at a given time of day alters the overall effect. As its title reveals, the piece is, in part, an investigation of optics and the act of looking. Given that “incidere” means to incise, affect, or record, it is as if Marnie has materialized the impact of light—leaving its imagined, forceful trace on sequential partitions.

Some of the most promising works in this thesis exhibition displayed a resistance to, and questioning of, the confines of one primary medium of choice. Amongst many Bard alums, there is a long-standing joke that its best photographers are sculptors, and vice-versa. In this year’s culminating presentation, these three artist standouts resoundingly supported the claim. -Kristen Chappa