In: Helena Hauss

Mia | Helena Hauss, 2015
February 14, 2022

Mia | Helena Hauss, 2015

One of my favourite scenes from the television series Sense8 is when one of the main characters is about to step into the ring, for an underground boxing match; a match between a male and female fighter – and the referee, in response to the man’s bravado, his arrogant assurance of his victory, is that “smart money’s on the skinny bitch.”

And the “smart money” turns out to be right. 

Helena Hauss’ images are definitively feminist, but with a forceful humour that amuses and fractures a simplistic reading of her work. The aforementioned exchange came to mind due to the shirt worn by Hauss’ Mia, proudly proclaiming ‘skinny bitch’, as she reclines amidst tasty decadent snacks, not just unmindful of our judgement but meeting our gaze straight on, provocatively licking her fingers with eyes that make it clear she couldn’t give less of a fuck about what ‘we’ think. 

Hauss works in ballpoint pen: her skill and discipline in this unusual format is awe inspiring, and there’s an audacity required in employing this medium that is matched by the vivacity and authenticity of the players in her tableaux. Whether in Mia’s unflinching stare, or the energy of The Fight or the impressive minutiae and detailed renderings of The Bet or The Sleepover, Helena Hauss is awesome in her medium. 

Her words:  My works all explore a same running theme of Irreverence :  challenging an imposed decorum and reveling in one’s own pre-established labels rather than having to apologize for them.It’s about self-acceptance through self-deprecation and satire.

More of Helana Hauss’ work can be seen at her site, and her IG: @helenahauss.
She often shares videos of her process, which is lovely to enjoy as well.  

~ Bart Gazzola

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