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The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach

Joseph Wagenbach's home
Seamlessly crossing between fiction and reality, narrative and history, theatre, sculpture and prose

Iris Haeussler, a Toronto-based artist and recent immigrant from Germany, has constructed the life of a person seemingly obsessed with sculpture in this small house. On one level, we are confronted with a fictional, psychological narrative of an old man's memories, defined by the history of the early 20th century and set in the unique context of immigration and identity in Toronto. But on the other hand, the house really exists, the sculptures are real, the atmosphere and spaces combine to an unsettlingly detailed reconstruction of the art and artefacts of decades. And in our mind, Wagenbach, the old recluse, becomes present and tangible. One understands why the archivist knocks before she enters.

See the Joseph Wagenbach Foundation, established in 2009 to manage his legacy.

Review, Martha Baillie Brick Magazine
Review, Naomi Binder-Wall Fuse Magazine
Review, Thomas Medicus Welt (DE)
Review, Mark Kingwell Canular
Review, Andrea Carson Border Crossings
Review, Catherine Sicot C Magazine
Review, Peter Goddard Toronto Star
Review, Terence Dick Globe & Mail
Review, Murray Whyte Toronto Star
Review, Siri Agrell The National Post

We left the Field Office to walk towards Wagenbach's house, wearing white lab coats. The archivist knocked on the door before turning her key. We squeezed inside. Stale air. Dim light. Shapes formed in corners and shadows I would have never imagined...

Joseph Wagenbach spent his early years helping out on the farm and inn. When both his older brothers died in the war and his father went missing, young Joseph became responsible for the inn, aged 15. However Joseph's father returned in 1946...

Iris Häussler wishes to acknowledge the support of the following funders