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16 Jan–2 Feb 2021

Wave Residency III

artist in residency: Paula Henrike Herrmann


Home just a minute from the streets 

Paula Henrike Herrmann
with Sveta Mordovskaya
and Anastasia Chaguidouline


P: Is it possible to plan a collage?

A: Action de coller

A coll age – pieces of frames, paper, fabric, furniture, gazes or memories? Pieces of a home and projections of a future.

It is possible to make it – spacial, formal, with spaces in between. Informal – superposing and juxtaposing – pieces, brushstrokes, bodies in boxes, frames, spaces and on walls. Walls of a plan of a future of a possibility of a home just a minute away from the streets we are looking at.

(In a secluded and a safe space, a room with a view to something (un) known, not yet.)

Is it possible to plan it? To plan an action of cut and paste?

P: Is the street hot and home cold?

Plan to cut my street and paste it in your home. Is a piece of my furniture a part of your memory?

A: It is truthful to see it that way. The home I remember is cold, from the marble inside and the snow outside. Sometimes we would make a fire taking the warmth from the street into our place.

A piece of your furniture will be a part of my memory.

P: Yesterday we made a fire the heatings were on but still we were cold. The chimney smoked and so we smelled like smoked forest. Is my neighbor part of my family and even so if I don’t want to?

What do I mean when I say I live alone but the house is crowded with filled flats… Are walls elementary for the concept individual. Are walls elementary for the concept family.

A: Your neighbor is part of your walls, of what privacy means, of what the other means, whether you like it or not. How often are neighbors friends?

My mother is a cat, she spent her days meandering around counting the tiles of the wall containing my secrets: loud teenage dreams and angst and falling asleep in the multiple bathrooms… walls can protect, walls are constitutive elements of what we call ourselves within the inner construct of what we might call family.

P: It might be that my door was unlocked tonight. In my dream I went down the stairs and locked with my key. My key has many keys and my partner said that it looked like I might have a few other lifes. I can’t reconstruct anymore which key belongs where. At least I can lock my door with the right key. Last night we forgot to do so.

A: Multiple cavities contained in a body and soul are carriages for pasts and imaginations, escape plans and something familiar. Cavities, or maybe rooms, or maybe lives with windows looking at the street, or the street looking at them, I don’t remember it must have been in 2013, they are locked.

How do you manage to find the right key to your door? Sometimes rooms can’t be unlocked.

It looks like you might have multiple lives…

P: Was habe ich dir nochmal erzählt am Telefon? Die warme Frau, so warm wie ein Ofen? Und dann wird es heiss meine Zunge verbrennt….

A: Yesterday you told me, that my chimney was yours. About being woman, being chimney, warm becoming hot. Being a woman is connected to many expectations. One of them is being warm, being household, being home, being hospitality and care. But being warm means restraint. The fire in the chimney is warm until it gets dangerous, until she gets dangerously hot. Until she induces fear with her seduction, emotion, power, fire.She might become dangerous, even for herself, and burn and burn until there is no warmth left. When She becomes too hot, she is being burned by the many that are afraid. A paradox in history.

How do modern witch burnings look like?

You told me that a painting can be like a chimney, the warmest place in the house.

And I see little cars driving through my chimney…

P: I see little cars driving down my chimney the drivers they observe the traffic. The drivers they observe.

So many eyes lasting on her back. All the glass walls make her be seen in this what is called her failure. I don’t have to give to anyone else I can quietly burn down my own fire slowly growing older eating all these little eyes.

Public execution today is constantly seen bare, the skin her big protection shall now be her currency? She stands on the grand place naked with thousand eyes on her body. She stands in silence.

A: Silence is slow, little by little they take to the streets, sweaping away parts of it and traces.

Silence is long and cold and like the snow that never fell when she was young.

Behind closed windows, these streets look beautiful and warm. I wonder what keeps them warm at night.

P: Francis Bacon said on one point that when he went to a butchers place he wondered why it wasn’t him hanging there. Being open being really open taking that explicit.

The streets are warm when your home is cold.

A: Being open, being really open.

I remember, at 20 there is not one single night, falling asleep, without this ambiguous anger of missed opportunities. And we laughed at this permanent tension between the necessity to revolt and the gentleness of contemplation.

P: I sit here in the exhibition space and have no pen or whatsoever with me because my first thought was I worked all the time when I was home with the baby so I just need a proper nap.

Carrying a mattress is a pain in the ass so I lie on two chairs. Today I badly wanted to change a painting that’s here with me and all I can find is my lipstick. Is that very cliche? Funnily its the painting called „the ambivalence of fabulation“ which shows my mom showing one of her two middle fingers.

A: Clichés are overrated, whereas lipstick is a valid material. It’s paint for body and face. It’s something that covers, embellishes, hides and exposes. Something that is passed away from mother to daughter.

Do you want to take another nap? Maybe it is more comfortable to lie on the curtains that are meant to hide the windows of the street.

Take down the scraps and bits and look into the opposite window. Maybe you will see someone.

A man? Mid-40ties. He is finishing off the last page in his journal and he doesn’t look out. He is not putting an end, nor to his journal, nor to his existence. He is giving life to his immortality.

And when you see him. Don’t be afraid. You will not know what to do. Noone expects you too.

Maybe you can get up and shut the curtains.



The painter Paula Henrike Herrmann (b.1993, Bern, lives and works in Zurich), emerges herself in various forms of paintings, pictures, while her work has an attribute which could be called integration. The round forms that reappear stand for „an ongoing process of returning to oneself“. She considers her work to be an album of a person that could be herself. This album is constantly being reworked, reframed, cut up and put together. The timeline is not linear, old works become part of new works in some sort of digestion.

A founding member of „Natalie Portman“, she holds a BFA in Fashion Design and MFA in Fine Arts from the FHNW Academy of Art and Design Basel. Past exhibitions and residencies include Augustinermuseum Freiburg, Glasgow International Festival of Art, Kunsthaus Baselland, Galerie der Villa Hamburg, la Dépandance St.Imier, summer residency at Cité des Arts Paris and Isitituto Svizzero.


Sveta Mordovskaya was born in 1989 in Ulan-Ude (USSR). She lives and works in Zurich and Vienna.

Solo exhibitions include Complex Doll, Weiss Falk, Basel, 2020; Monuments, Cherish, Geneva, 2020; Suckly Eye, Weiss Falk, Basel, 2018; Gravidan, Plymouth Rock, Zurich, 2017.

Recent group shows include Light at Eight at Loggia, Vienna, 2020; The Estate at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga 2019; A Home is not a House at Fri Art Kunsthalle, Fribourg 2019; A House is not a Home at Fri Art Kunsthalle, Fribourg 2019; Goodbye Plastic at Longtang, Zürich 2019; Lampen at Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich 2018; Readymades belong to Everyone at Swiss Institute, New York 2018.