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Berlin and München, Germany


The apartments were opened to the public; visitors were confronted with a manic situation, reactions of two elderly women to their surroundings.

Two living situations were shown simultaneously in rented apartments in Berlin and Munich. Both had been installed into apartments in downtown, low-income rental areas. For the duration of the exhibitions, the apartments were opened to the public - the key could be obtained at nearby galleries. Visitors were confronted with a manic situation, reactions of two elderly women to their surroundings.

In Munich, the visitor turned the key to open a cluttered apartment that had been transformed into a plaster workshop; piles of casts and molds of children's hands and feet were stacked against the walls, and encroached on the living space. Candy and little toys were found on the floor, next to the child-size chair; a bowl for mixing plaster was there, towels and rags. Wax had been melted in pots on the kitchen stove. Some of the molds had been used to cast small hands, small feet.

In Berlin, the apartment resembled an overflowing laundry storage. The inhabitant had archived pieces of fabric she had used to "dust" her neighbourhood. Over years she had gone outside to wipe bannisters, parkbenches, handrails, lamp-poles - the inventory of public spaces that people might have touched, or even just brushed against. Whatever she collected was labeled, inventoried in ruled composition books, and stowed away.

Both apartments had one single item in common: an old and yellowed graduation photograph was visible in Berlin and in Munich. Though 600 kilometers apart, at some point, many years ago, these two women had a shared biography.

Whether the two women had just left the appartment for a moment, whether they had died, or whether their work had been forcefully interrupted remained open.

Iris Häussler wishes to acknowledge the support of the following funders