Xenia Hausner. True Lies

Until 8 August 2021

The ALBERTINA MUSEUM presents the work of Xenia Hausner—one of the important contemporary Austrian painters, in a wide-ranging retrospective. Fictional visualizations play a pivotal role in the work of this artist, who was born in 1951. The present selection, entitled True Lies, points to the significance of staging as a creative and compositional principle in Hausner’s output.

For her large-format paintings, Hausner begins by constructing elaborate spatial settings —Installations that she then photographs as models for her paintings. Sliced-up cars or train compartments fashioned from cardboard serve as a “rehearsal room” where her figures, like actors, explore a variety of relationships. This creative process closely interweaves painting and photography, forming a dialectic: intense color and the two-dimensionality of painting, in a sense “contradicting” the photo previously taken.

In turn, Hausner’s actual painting process is characterized by filmic and photographic methods. Her selection of motifs and fields of view, the fragmentary, the overall montage-character, the lighting implied by the colors employed—all this contributes to the atmospheric quality of these images. The scenarios created by Xenia Hausner remain puzzling and irritating. Like fragments of a story, comparable to film stills whose plot has gone missing, they defy clear interpretation.

While centuries of art history were characterized by the male gaze, Xenia Hausner situates her stagings in a female counter-world: It is primarily women who embody Hausner’s themes and stories, acting as proxies for all gender identities. She juxtaposes stereotypical male views with strong, contradictory, and complex female figures.

For the most part larger than life, in a highly characteristic and intense palette of colors applied with a broad brush, her figures, boldly three-dimensionalized, become representatives of universally valid situations and existential questions.

On view from 30 April until 8 August 2021.


We thank the Wiener Städtischen Versicherungsverein for the support.

Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein

Image Gallery – 13 Images
Two women portraits divided by a red-white yardstick
Xenia Hausner | Das weibliche Maß, 2003 | Würth Collection © Studio Xenia Hausner | Bildrecht, Vienna, 2021, Photo Stefan Liewehr
Women bodes lying on the ground, from a bird's eye perspective
Xenia Hausner | Crime Map, 2010 | Private Collection, Switzerland © Studio Xenia Hausner | Bildrecht, Vienna, 2021, Photo Stefan Liewehr
Self-portrait of the artist with a pistol pointing at her head and a huge cake in front of her.
Xenia Hausner | Bullet in the Head, 2002-2004 | Schlossberghotel – Das Kunsthotel © Studio Xenia Hausner | Bildrecht, Vienna, 2021, Photo Stefan Liewehr
Exhibition view | Photo © Robert Bodnar – 4 Images


  • Jahrespartner
    Bank Austria UniCredit
  • Partner
    BMW Logo
  • Media Partner
    Die Presse
  • Kooperationspartner
    Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein
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