Review date
Natalie Hegert

Toronto, Apr. 2011: Iris Häussler's work vascillates in the liminal areas between fact and fiction, history and memory, science and art.  Her  practice requires periods of intense research, piecing together elaborate, painstaking detail in the creation of objects and entire environments -- taking place entirely in secret.  When her immersive installations are presented to the public, in many cases the artist, or who you would assume the artist should be, remains hidden. 

I first learned about Iris Häussler’s work from David Moos, the curator of contemporary art of the Art Gallery of Ontario—Musée des Beaux Arts Ontario (AGO).  In a list of art highlights for the year in Toronto, he mentioned her project He Named Her Amber (at the time an on-going installation at The Grange annex to the AGO) as “one of the most thought-provoking art experiences one may have anywhere, not just in Toronto.” Trying to find more information about the project I encountered a virtual labyrinth of information, as I navigated between different websites associated with assorted cultural auspices, archives, and research modules, from the AGO’s website to the Anthropological Services Ontario.  Photographs and documentation of the project revealed it to be an archeological and anthropological enterprise.  So who was Iris Häussler? An artist, an archivist, an anthropologist? I traveled to Toronto earlier this year to find out more about her work...