I like Katalin Hausel’s work. It looks and feels like work that I am drawn to. She is another artist that I could’ve seen fitting with the traveling 22. Unfortunately, she likes to use indecipherable text in her installations. I did not realize that until I had a conversation where I was forced to describe what I liked about her work, or actually what I didn’t like.
I did not see any text in her piece for Terra Cognita, CinemaTexas. The winding path, looking like a thread, recalled her early paintings at UT, but at the same time its material looked like graphite. And I thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of its existence and the grandness of its presence. Lets say that the material is indeed graphite and she doodled on the ground with it. That sounds like drawing or writing.
I think maybe she took a step back and moved forward. For Gallery 3, Ms. Hausel takes one word, compassion, and uses it to explore the space. I believe that is what she did with the path down at the CinemaTexas show. By simplifying the text she is working with, she erased the huge obstacle of deciphering the text in order to fully comprehend her work. Now I say this without having experienced her Construction Site installation. It sounds like that situation could have just had the alphabet repeating, you still would have found yourself following the text in order to navigate the space she created. Or is that the space you created?
With the word compassion, she of course is taking a jab at politics. Her promo material even states that she works from “politically charged text”. So by formally and physically deconstructing the sculptural text, she comments on how our “compassionate” President and/or his agenda is falling apart. Regardless of the political nature of the work, it is a fun situation. The letters begin as negative spaces cut out from whitewashed plywood walls and then begin to pull away from the skeletal structure of the wall. Becoming objects of their own, some peel apart while others join together. The way that they extend into the space and allow entrance into the beginning of the word is like a playscape. If only she had installed a slide!
I don’t know if they were there on opening night, but when I did a quick drive-by, there were scuff marks in one of the corners. Maybe it was from all the traffic, but it stood out because everything was whitewashed. And to make things worse, it made me notice the taped seams with the real walls. I also did not like the placement of the information shelf. That would have been better served on the other side and allow a clearer path.
The show didn’t blow my mind, but I really had fun. I think the location of the space is awkward and contributes to the atmosphere of the work. Had it been in front, where passersby could look in and see art (oh no he di’ent), you would have natural light, an airy space and the possibility of engaging a larger audience instead of just the art students purchasing supplies. I almost gave this show a good rating because of the space, but reconsidered. I definitely enjoyed this on the same level as I did the Ebony Porter show so I think it deserves to be called GREAT.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.