Thursday, November 27, 2008

Iris Haussler- Honest Threads

A project by the amazing Iris. Check out the Koffler Centre website for more details and the project application form for contributors.


Share your story and the shirt off your back in this art project by Iris Häussler

Iris Häussler: Honest Threads

January 22 to March 8, 2009
Curated by Mona Filip
Presented at Honest Ed’s by the Koffler Gallery
581 Bloor Street W, Toronto

Deadline for contributions: December 19, 2008

The Project
In a crossover between visual art, literature, and theatre, Toronto artist Iris Häussler creates immersive environments that reveal personal histories, real or fictional. Responding to the Koffler Gallery’s invitation to develop the first project in a new off-site program, Häussler chose Toronto’s famous landmark, Honest Ed’s, to host an installation that engages the GTA public in sharing real life stories.

Honest Threads will display garments and the memories they carry. Lent by Torontonians, each item holds a personal story revealing a glimpse of the many threads that weave our identity over time. Visitors will be able to borrow the garments and wear them for a few days, experiencing both literally and psychologically what it is like to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” At the same time, they will add new layers to the clothes’ history. Trading experiences on both tactile and narrative levels will enrich our collective perception of the place we call home. As pieces of a vast puzzle, these individual stories will render a fragmentary portrait of the city, attesting to its complex history.

The Place
With its overload of celebrity photographs and eccentric sales items, Honest Ed’s is no ordinary store but a museum in itself, blurring the boundaries between commercial, public and exhibition spaces. The place equally attests to the inspiring story of its founder, Ed Mirvish, the son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and Austria, as well as his impact on Toronto’s cultural scene and on the community through philanthropic gestures. Spotlighting Honest Ed’s significance as a haven for newcomers to Canada, Honest Threads positions the store as the meeting point of individual Toronto stories of immigration, survival and childhood dreams, entwined with the city’s cultural history. Among the participants you will also recognize local celebrities.

And You
This is your opportunity to bring out the cherished jacket your father wore on his clandestine journey across the ocean, the sari you inherited from your grandmother, or the shirt that made you look cool in your high-school band. We would also like to include in the display a photograph of you or the original owner wearing the garment. Share your stories and lend your unique voice to a project that brings together the many faces of Toronto’s identity.

To contribute your garment, story and photograph, please call Mona Filip at 416 636 1880 x270 or email

About the Artist
Iris Häussler was born in Friedrichshafen, Germany in 1962 and immigrated to Canada in 2001. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and has exhibited widely throughout Europe. Her exhibitions and site-specific installations include: Therese (2004) at the Triennial of Contemporary Art Oberschwaben, Weingarten; Time and over (2003) at Gallery Huber Goueffon, Munich; Monopati (2000) in residential apartments in Berlin and Munich; Paulina (2000) in a residential house in Bonn; and You do not return from the place that does not exist (1999) at Hotel Franziskaner, Zürich. The Legacy of Joseph Wagenbach (2006), curated by Rhonda Corvese and conceived for a residential house in downtown Toronto, is her most complex off-site narrative installation and marked her first major show in North America. Häussler currently lives in Toronto and teaches at the Toronto School of Art.

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