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Xenia Hausner, „White Noise“, 2022

Xenia Hausner

White Noise (2022)

The mise-en-scène of fiction, understood as a principle of creativity and composition, has always played a crucial role in the oeuvre of the Austrian painter Xenia Hausner, as seen clearly in the title of her recent retrospective “True Lies” at the Albertinain Vienna (2021). For her large-format paintings, Hausner uses her studio as a kind of rehearsal space, arranging scenes to explore her figures. Photographing these settings, she then draws inspiration from the snapshots and begins the process of painting. Her artistic practice thus closely intertwines photography and painting, but the two media also enter into an antagonistic relationship. On the one hand, there is the fleeting moment, captured within the photograph’s perspectival space; on the other, the flatness of the brushstrokes and the multilayered work processes that are the foundation of the paintings.This tension is also clearly apparent in “White Noise,” the work Hausner has created for TEXTE ZUR KUNST as a Ditone print on hand-torn floral paper. Here, a figure is depicted against a background of abstract patches of color, gazing into the far distance. The work captures a moment when the figure’s bubble gum has filled with breath, yet the image seems to dissolve by virtue of Hausner’s rough brushstrokes. Both the action within the image and the identity of the figure seem puzzling, and the artwork’s title deliberately yields no further information. Does it perhaps refer to the hissing that can drown out disturbing background noise with a host of even, steady frequencies, thus enabling a loss of situatedness within the present moment?