Ursula Hauser’s interest in art and collecting goes back to the 1950s, when she acquired her ﬁrst sculpture while still a young woman in training, studying textiles. Over the ensuing decades, she has thoughtfully forged one of the world’s most important private collections of modern and contemporary art. Her passion for collecting is focused on painting and on what she calls ‘the other sculpture.’ It is not the pleasing ‘beautiful’ picture that fascinates her but rather work that may be raw, unpolished, and, on occasion, even disturbing. Hauser instinctively seeks out art that touches her emotionally, that is both personally and intellectually challenging.
The moment she acquires a work, she has it installed or mounted in a suitable place in her proximity. She is a collector who lives with her art and engages in an active exchange with those who have created it. Thus, studio visits have become a ﬁxed ritual, an indispensable constituent of her encounters with art. They exemplify her need to become acquainted with the people behind the art, to ﬁnd out more about their lives and thoughts, and to investigate the untold ways in which the human condition may acquire concrete shape in the form and material of a work. Many close friendships with artists have grown over the years, and it is telling and, indeed, extremely impressive, to hear this collector speak lovingly of ‘artist family,’ revealing how deeply she values these relationships that are of such crucial signiﬁcance for her. —Michaela Unterdörfer
‘Pipilotti belonged to the family... We spent a lot of time together. I often went to her studio and we had a lot of personal contact as well. She is a collector herself, collects clothes and secondhand things, anything in which there is life, proof of life—and then incorporates these things into her work.’
‘The way Berlinde renders the material of the sculpture, the many layers and transparency of the skin, in her drawings is simply superb. She does that when she works a sculpture in wax, and she does the same thing in the drawing. And she has found a new way to present sculpture.’
‘I have always been deeply impressed by the way women carve a place for themselves. Meret Oppenheim once said that freedom is not given to you, you have to take it.’
‘Roman’s actions taught me that you can’t simply plan art on the drawing board. He took a different path, working with natural elements and process. You never knew how it would come out. That fascinated me!’
‘Jason’s work was provocative. Most people just threw their hands up, pooh-poohed it instead of asking them-selves: how did this come about? Where do we stand now? I enjoy trying to answer questions like that.’
‘The artists were always involved! Nothing ever happened without getting everyone together... We didn’t want a white cube where you simply hang art. We were constantly consulting Paul or Jason: How? What? Tell us? What do you think? They were informed about everything and involved in what we wanted to do.’—Ursula Hauser
– Important works from Ursula’s collection are featured in ‘Unconscious Landscape. Works from the Ursula Hauser Collection’ from 25 May – 8 September 2019.