Ursula is the art magazine of Hauser & Wirth, featuring essays, profiles, films, interviews, original portfolios, and photography by some of the most thought-provoking writers and artists in the world.

Books

‘My subjects are here… to be present with you in that moment’

Amy Sherald talks to Ta-Nehisi Coates in this excerpt from the new publication, ‘Amy Sherald: The World We Make’

Films

Outside of the Realm of Acceptability

On the occasion of his exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s Zurich gallery on Limamatstrasse, Richard Jackson speaks about what it is that has driven him to explore the potential of performative painting for more than five decades. ‘I don‘t care about the results with the art,’ he states. ‘It's going to look like whatever. But the process, you can‘t change.’ Jackson explains that while other artists are invested in creating objects, ‘I do something else.’
Profiles

‘An eye either side’

In Fabian Peake’s 1998 poem ‘The Search,’ the speaker is looking for someone ‘in the trees behind the mist’ and ‘in the night around the windows.’ Two features of this search strike me as useful when considering Peake’s career as a poet-artist in the tradition of Hans Arp or Paul Klee. Not only does the seeker take pleasure in his failure to discover the object of his desire—‘I expect and want you to hide’— but he seems uncertain that it really exists, at least in any conventional sense. This quarry must be sought for ‘where I think you’ll never be … [on] the other side of invention.’
Diary

Oblitus / Oblivion

We sat down with dancer and choreographer Isaac Montllor, from the Spanish National Dance Company, to talk about his new dance piece ‘Oblitus.’ Created within the framework of Rashid Jonhson’s exhibition ‘Sodade’ at Hauser & Wirth Menorca, this choreographic work is inspired by the sea, Menorcan poet Ponç Pons, and the idea of oblivion.
Conversations

The Heart Has Its Own Intelligence: Legacies of the Gee’s Bend Quilters

A roundtable discussion on the occasion of the exhibition ‘The New Bend’

Books

Eva Hesse in Her Own Words

Eva Hesse’s diaries from 1955 to 1970 served as a tool for the artist to analyze her experience of the world. They detail her refuge in books, including citations from Simone de Beauvoir or F. Scott Fitzgerald, and are a phenomenal glimpse into her traumas and delight in the fluctuating process of making art. The backdrop of the mid-20th Century is prevalent, serving as an important marker of the historical moments Hesse was pioneering in her sculpture and drawing. ‘Eva Hesse: Diaries’ was first published in May 2016 by Hauser & Wirth Publishers. Below is an excerpt from the book, focusing on Hesse’s time as a student at Yale in 1959, an important moment of formal development and transition in the young artist’s painting practice.
Conversations

Land Mind

For more than three decades, Pierre Huyghe has elided contemporary categories of art-making beyond the bounds of common syntax. Sculpture, performance, video, film, sound and land art become, in his hands, unpredictably permeable and unstable—a retort to what he once called ‘hysteric objects,’ a pursuit instead of a kind of art ‘somehow indifferent’ to the viewer. A reclining female nude concrete figure accommodates a hive of living bees in its head (‘Untitled (Liegender Frauenakt),’ 2012); an upstate New York community parade and summer gathering becomes a loosely scripted performance piece and film about human ritual and civic rites (‘Streamside Day Follies,’ 2003); glass-tanked aquatic environments inhabited by crabs and other sea life become what Huyghe has described as ‘non-illusionistic fiction,’ sculptural arenas for living elements to enact uncontrolled narratives within the parameters of constructed conditions (‘Zoodram’ works, 2009–13).

Two years ago, Huyghe was invited to consider creating an outdoor work within the environs of the Kistefos Museum’s sculpture park in Jevnaker, Norway, north of Oslo, on lush, rolling woodland near the Randselva River, once the site of a paper pulp mill. After some exploration of the area, he chose a portion of the museum’s site that had never before been a location of artwork, a small island that has now become the environment for Huyghe’s largest work to date, ‘Variants’—a word that has recently taken on new and ominous meaning. The work, a commingling of sculptural and digital elements, utilizes the land and the water that sometimes rises over it as the foundations for a loop in which nature and artificial intelligence systems feed into each other, creating what, over time, could come to function like a hacked ecosystem.

Huyghe sat down recently for a virtual discussion about the work and the ways in which ‘Variants’ has allowed him to delve deeper into several themes he has been exploring over the last decade. These are edited and condensed excerpts of the conversation.
Books

Light Escapes the Shadows

Frank Bowling’s painting practice is characterized by relentless innovation and bold experimentation. Leading up to ‘Land of Many Waters,’ Bowling’s solo exhibition at the Arnolfini, international center for contemporary art in Bristol, United Kingdom, the artist participated in an extended dialogue with exhibition curator Gemma Brace. These conversations—complemented with short introductions by Brace that provide additional reflections on Bowling’s work—have been collected in ‘Frank Bowling: Penumbral Light,’ a new book by Hauser & Wirth Publishers released on the occasion of his eponymous exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Zurich in June 2022. In the excerpt below, Brace’s text and her conversation with Bowling consider the nuances of his painted surfaces.
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