OF MATERIAL IMPORTANCE
Ushered into the artist’s living room, an open planned space centering on and flowing
around a sunken pit in which are divan, coffee table, chairs and cushions, I become
increasingly apprehensive. I take in the restful décor of menthol carpet and ceiling, white
walls and honey coloured woodwork. The hairdryer I can hear from the bathroom seems
to be running a long time. Is Louise Haselton nervous about meeting me? Or am I a
chore she is holding at bay just that little bit longer? At that moment Haselton appears
and steps nimbly down the stairs to meet me. Her eyes are the legendary green that I
hadn’t expected them in reality to be. She smiles, vigorously fluffing her hair, looking at
me through the fringe. “It’s a bit boofy at the moment, but it will settle”, she says
disarmingly and pulls her bare feet underneath her – to sit Buddha-style before me.
She pours Japanese tea. I remark how neat the place is. “That’s because I’m never here.”
Haselton indicates the wall that is chiefly window, against which a long trestle desk runs,
the entire length of the L-shaped apartment. “Come on”. She leads me there.
A devastation of coffee cups, cigarette butts, pills, magazines, bottles and glasses, the
remains of sandwiches that might form a lineage running well into the past week. This is
more like it – and I feel a little self-conscious. But Haselton seems to see no distance
between us. Women friends had told me we would get on. Men, I expect, must find her
enchanting. The long table bears a series of Haselton pieces – and what I take to be ideas
or sketches for future works – and books and some student essays.
A month or so previously Louise Haselton showed at the Experimental Art Foundation
[see John Barbour’s review elsewhere in this issue]. Small Crowd was a lean body of work.
It played an obdurate materiality off against the bubble-like abstraction of word and
concept. The pieces were all, or nearly all, palindromes. It is a conundrum-like
combination of the opposing