07 Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS
- Singel 372
As if a house should be conceived for the pleasure of the eye, she says
The manner in which we dwell is the manner in which we are. Where we live is not an objective, unbiased space; on the contrary, it has been constructed and designed in ways which, either consciously or unconsciously, obey specific biopolitical systems of gender and sexuality. What constructions of the self emerge within contested spaces of inhabitation? And what power relations are established between our bodies and our household objects? In her first solo show in the Netherlands, Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann transforms Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS into a space of domestic speculation, feminist enquiry and emancipation, cinematic tribute, and architectural sublimation.
For Badaut Haussmann, cinema equals architecture, and vice versa. In As if a house…, she addresses the connections between female protagonists and domestic architecture in cinema, using as a starting point her interest in two films: Maîtresse by Barbet Schroeder (1976) and Safe by Todd Haynes (1995). In the former, Ariane (Bulle Ogier) lives in a split-level apartment in Paris: upstairs an average home with stylish Parisian décor; downstairs a BDSM dungeon where she works as a dominatrix. In the latter, Carol (Julianne Moore), suffering a mysterious illness caused by her surroundings, joins an eerie new-age desert community alongside people with similar disorders.
Following the artist’s research into domesticity, interior design, and speculative feminist architecture, the gallery is turned into an installed environment in which to ponder how domestic space can be perceived as a feminist tool.
Materialities play a very important role in Badaut Haussmann’s installation, from the sensuality and opulence of leather to the crispness of hard-edged dark marble, from the coldness of metal to thick, textured carpet. All of these – which are references to the two films – counterbalance each other in a carefully studied environment. Here, we can reflect on the dualisms of isolation and attachment, danger and safety, control and freedom, power and submission, all intertwined with the question of trust.
The piece is an equally cinematic and architectural experience, with an array of sound, sculptural, wall-based, photographic, and filmic works that attempt both to disrupt heteronormative spatial design and conjecture on feminist abodes. Contrary to any lofty, grand gesture of scenic design, we are immersed into a kinesthetic ambience that encourages an engagement with our senses.
Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann’s multifaceted work stems from intersecting research on domesticity, psychology, and feminism, and from her expertise in film, literature, architecture, and design. She has exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, the Palais de Tokyo, MACRO in Rome, Mudam in Luxembourg City, A Tale of a Tub, in Rotterdam, and in the United States, Japan, and Australia. She currently lives and works in Paris.
Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann (FR, 1980)