Iris Häussler / FNAGP Residency 2016
Sophie La Rosière
In residency from April 30 to May 15, 2016
Born in Germany in 1962, Iris Häussler graduated from the Fine Arts Academy of Munich and currently is based in Toronto, Canada. Häussler’s immersive installations trace the tension between history, imagination and memory. Through detailed accounts of fictitious stories, Häussler plays with the boundary of reality and fiction, underscoring the temporal weave of history.
Developed in 2009, Häussler’s ongoing project currently on display at Villa Vassilieff, Sophie La Rosière is rooted in the history of Parisian modernity. Following a detailed account of a fictional artist who lived in Paris in early twentieth century, Sophie La Rosière rediscovers possible methodologies and canons for understanding the construction of art history.
In the Spring of 2016, Sophie La Rosière is developed by into a two-week residency between the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques (FNAGP) and the Villa Vassilieff. The residency program is an opportunity to further investigate the techniques of story telling and consider multiple methodologies to interrogate the notion of evidence and truth in history.
The Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques (FNAGP), was created in 1976 with the aid of two bequests to the French state by Hannah Charlotte, Baroness de Rothschild in 1922, and the sisters Madeleine Smith-Champion and Jeanne Smith in 1944. The Smith Sisters bequeathed their Château in Nogent-sur-Marne to the state in 1943, where the Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques is now located. Iris Häussler’s research takes root in the Smith-Lesouëf Library founded thanks to the legacy of the Smiths sisters and administered by the FNAGP — an incredible site of memory, which is not yet accessible to the public. Sophie La Rosière’s biography crosses that of the Smith sisters, as she appears to have befriended Madeleine Smith, a student and lover of artist Jean-Jacques Henner.
The fictional trajectory of Sophie La Rosière weaves through the biography of a core character of Montparnasse’s history, that of Russian artist Marie Vassilieff, the founder of an artist studio, school and cantine on the site of Villa Vassilieff. Anchored in these two sites and the narratives built around them, the Sophie La Rosière project bridges Paris with Toronto (where Iris Häussler’s studio and production site for Sophie La Rosière’s artworks are located) through multiple conversations developed with several curators and organizations in both cities: Catherine Sicot (Elegoa Cultural Productions), Philip Monk (Art Gallery of York University AGYU), Rui Amaral (Scrap Metal Gallery) and Daniel Faria (Daniel Faria Gallery). Further collaborations involve: Mélanie Bouteloup, Virginie Bobin (Villa Vassillief) and former FNAGP director Gérard Alaux. The creative process includes the participation of other French organizations and professionals from various fields: the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF), La Maison d’Art Bernard d’Anthonioz, La Maison de Victor Hugo, La Fondation Giacometti, La Sociéte d’histoire d’Aubervilliers, and psychoanalysts Dominique de Liege and Yan Pelissier.
The Sophie La Rosière project is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and Le Consulat de France à Toronto. Iris Häussler is the recipient of a 2016 fellowship provided by La Villa Vassilieff and the FNAGP.
Read Sophie La Rosière’s biography here (in French).