Iris Häussler will tell you that she grew up in a house full of evocative objects. As one of nine people in a busy household, Häussler was often left to her own imagination. She created narratives for imaginary characters. Some were based on experiences shared with her father, a veterinarian, as he made his rounds caring for farm animals in the countryside. There were times when his work led him to the slaughterhouse with young Häussler in tow.
Häussler’s work is an immersive experience. Her show, entitled Apartment 4 was on display at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan during the summer of 2019. The installation contained everything that makes a house a home and told the public and private story of nurse Florence Hasard. As the story goes, Hasard was A French immigrant, who arrived in Milwaukee in the 1920s. The life of Häussler’s character played out in a series of rooms which invited guests to make themselves comfortable and maybe do a little ironing if the mood struck. Whatever you decided to do was up to you and encouraged.
Häussler spoke with contributor gianofer fields from her home in Canada. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, fields and Häussler discuss the emotional context of the work and discover that while Florence Hasard is a product of Häussler’s imagination…she is very real.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Iris Häussler is a conceptual and installation artist from Germany and makes her home in Canada. Häussler studied sculpture and conceptual art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under Heribert Sturm. Häussler’s work is shown internationally. She was a stipendiary of the Kunstfonds (Bonn) and won the Karl Hofer Prize 1999 (Berlin). In 2010 she was invited on the Cape Farewell (UK) High Arctic Expedition. Since her immigration to Canada, she has received grants from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Image: Apartment 4. 2019. Installation view. Courtesy of artist Iris Häussler. Installation at John Michael Kohler Art Center. Photograph courtesy of host gianofer fields.
This segment comes from the Radio Chipstone Archives on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.