Brancusi as INSPO

Iris Haussler

The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach


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.

further reading:

Derek Sullivan

Endless Kiosk, 2005-

Derek Sullivan’s Amnesia [now titled, Endless Kiosk], his version of Brancusi’s Endless Column, embodies in its name the Toronto-based artist’s relationship to contemporary art history. It is not about forgetting but about a nuanced procedure of distancing. “Work gets added to it with each exhibition,” he says. “So it’s possible if someone were to see the sculptures in multiple shows over time, they might not recognize them anymore. There’s this echo of familiarity, but new material has been added over portions of it, so it is the sculpture they have seen before but the surface has changed. Also, in a lot of referentialist art, the references are so overt. With Amnesia I was trying to pull them back into things that have more tertiary references.”

via Border Crossings, 2009

Piere Huyghe

Recollection (Zoodram 4, after Sleeping Muse by Constantin Brancusi), 2011

Huyghe’s studio doesn’t look like the classic artist’s workspace. Everything is neat and orderly; traditional art supplies are few and far between. But that’s not a shock: like any conceptualist, his creations are largely intangible. The physical objects employed are not autonomous works unto themselves, but surrogates for abstract ideas behind them. For Huyghe in particular, they function as structural O ‘Interview’, 30 March 2017, New York NY IBE NOW vessels for larger ecosystems—whole worlds in which individual parts aren’t as important as the dynamic network they add up to. Take for example Untilled (2011–12), a reclining nude figure carved from stone featuring a living bee colony in the place of its head; or Recollection (Zoodram 4, after Sleeping Muse by Constantin Brancusi) (2011) a marine ecosystem, with a hermit crab living in a shell modeled off of Brancusi’s sculpture, Sleeping Muse. “An interaction in which I push a button and something responds is not one I’m interested in,” says Huyghe. “I’m not so much considering the individual—one species or one object with a fixed radiation. To me, it has to be a mesh of interdependent things, biotic and abiotic.”

via Interview Magazine, 2017