Trix + Robert Haussmann


Boxes by Trix and Robert Haussmann, curated by Niels Olsen and Fredi Fischli of Studiolo, comprises a set of variations on plywood boxes with seemingly missing corners. In this new series of works, these architect-designers pursue their lasting interest in the identification of spatial specimens pertaining to a ‘Manierismo Critico’. Since the early seventies, the Haussmanns have developed an alternative mode of expression, informed by the artistic rhetoric of a historical mannerism that contradicts the aesthetic conventions of the Modernist doctrine. Adopting a critical Mannerism that allows for complexity, irrationality, ambiguity, and artificiality, they have developed what they call Lehrstücke (“didactic pieces”), a series of models to test their concepts rather than solidifying them. At MANIERA, the ensemble of six boxes can be regarded as the materialisation of the Haussmann’s theoretical principles of corner design. Instead of offering a typology of corners – external, internal, negative, positive, angular, curved – the boxes offer various possibilities for illusionism by playing with mirrors and cut-outs. The different applications of the mirror, an important material throughout the work, here generate a material alienation; a distortion of conventional views and standardised ways of thinking about spatial presence. In Robert Haussmann’s own words: “It is a question of the fictitious or virtual space that a mirror creates. We were always interested in the fact that a space could be “corrected”, expanded, enlarged or reduced by using mirrors.”1
Shaad G., “And, that a picture is also an idea and a text. Interview with Trix and Robert Haussmann”, in: Fischli, F., and Olsen, N., Trix and Robert Haussmann, Edition Patrick Frey, 2013, p.196