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Xenia Hausner. True Lies

The exhibition emphasizes the important role of staging as a principle of design and composition in Xenia Hausner's work. The artist begins the preparations of her paintings by constructing elaborate spatial settings in her studio: installations that she photographs as models for her paintings. Sections of a cardboard automobile or train compartments made of pressed wood panels become the stage for the figures that Hausner arranges like extras to form a tableau vivant. Everyday objects become props for her actors in the enigmatic scenarios recalling Gregory Crewdson's photographic approach or David Lynch's cinematic style: they form the basis of the future painting. In Hausner's stories, the actors play the roles assigned to them.
Xenia Hausner does not disguise the fictional aspects in her pictorial narratives – on the contrary. In doing so, she follows the profoundly contemporary insight that only visualised fiction allows the curtain that hides reality to be ripped open. While art history has been dominated by the male gaze for centuries, Xenia Hausner locates her productions in a counter-world dominated by women: Hausner's themes and stories are primarily performed by women, who can take on all roles, including the male parts. Mostly presented over-life-sized in an unmistakable, intense colour palette with a broad brush and a sense of the decorative reminiscent of Matisse, these vividly modelled figures become stand-ins for universally valid situations and existential questions of life.

Xenia Hausner was born into a Viennese family of artists in 1951. She studied stage design in Vienna and London and designed sets for plays and operas at venues ranging from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden to the Salzburg Festival. In 1992, Xenia Hausner turned exclusively to painting: the conviction, inspired by her work for the theatre, that the world is a stage and that we play roles on it, shapes each and every one of Xenia Hausner's paintings.

The Burgdorf exhibition was curated by Anna Wesle in collaboration with the artist. We would like to thank Elsy Lahner (curator and author of the exhibition texts) and the Albertina, Vienna for their excellent cooperation and support in conjunction with this cooperative project.
Trainwindow and people saying goodbye
two joung women

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