Tobias Hauser


Works Bio

BHW10.06.2013_6 neuedited

It was a spectacular sight, during the summer of 2002 in the center of Berlin: on a still-deserted building ground, before the backdrop of the shiny skyscrapers at Potsdamer Platz, there stood, unexpectedly, a modest hut made of pinewood and larch shingles. The confrontation couldn’t be more striking: there a monstrous architectural structure of city quarter size, symbol of global capitalism and unrestricted consumerism, with multinational corporations like Daimler-Chrysler and Sony as faceless developers; here a tiny cabin, in its original form knocked together with found and used material by a single man.

Tobias Hauser designed the hut as a replica of the cabin that the philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau had built for himself in 1845 in the woods outside the small town of Concord, Massachusetts – for just 28 dollars. Ever since, the cabin at Walden Pond has been a romantic symbol for a life close to nature and remote from civilization, just as Thoreau’s book „Walden; or, Life in the Woods“ has become the bible of all dropouts. At the same time, Thoreau, one of the „transcendentalists“ around Ralph Waldo Emerson, was an advocate of „civil disobedience“ who preferred to go to jail rather than paying taxes to a state that accepted slavery. Through this stance he is one of the fathers of all protest movements.

Tobias Hauser is a most political man, too. He developed the idea for „Walden“ after the terrorist attack on the New York World Trade Center and the subsequent war in Afghanistan; as he says, he wanted to revive the original democracy of the American founding fathers, without any trace of fundamentalism. It was no accident that for this he chose Thoreau’s hut, since houses are central for his work: the house as a symbol of the basic human want for shelter. Nature, too, is a constant theme in Hauser’s work, albeit in a stylized, abstract form. The most recent example is a five-meters-tall liberty tree made of aluminium tube, after a sketch by Goethe. Well known as a symbol of the French revolution, the „Tree of Liberty“ goes back to the independence struggle of the American colonies.

For Thoreau the cottage by the lake was not a life’s goal, but an experiment: he abandoned it after two years without regret. Other people took over and finally dismantled it; today there is a replica at Walden Pond. Hauser was not interested in an exact copy, so his hut is empty and cannot be entered. Instead, it is an illustration of the idea that made Thoreau construct his cabin: the necessity to choose one’s very own way. Thoreau: „If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.“

Changing the perspective, we will not see the hut as a comment on the Potsdamer Platz situation, but instead the high-rises as a backdrop that emphasizes the humble character of the cabin. So the little building is able to unfold its effect at other places as well, for instance at the Munich Olympic Parc where Hauser exhibited it in 2003. Today it is located in a private garden in southern Germany. Yet wherever the hut might stand, it is the materialized version of the maxim so popular today: „Don’t dream your life, live your dreams!“. „The mass of men“, Thoreau was convinced, „lead lives of quiet desperation“ – simply because they do not follow the beat of their own drum. The cottage tells us that this is possible indeed, that there are always alternatives for the dominant concepts of society, politics and culture.

For further information on the artist please see his website: Hauser Werke



1959born in Munich
1979-83studied at the Art Academy Stuttgart with K.R.H. Sonderborg and Alfred Hrdlicka
1983-84residence in Vienna, subsequently moved to Berlin
2007-11teaching position at the Hochschule Burg Giebichenstein, Halle on the Saale

lives and works in Berlin

Solo exhibition

2016Cette terre est libre, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
2015Stars, Galerie Artlantis/Müller, Stuttgart
Punishment of luxury, Fiebach & Minninger Galerie, Köln
2012Flecken/Stains, Lage, Berlin
2010Songs in Wood, Fiebach & Minninger Galerie, Köln
Rivers, Galerie Kvant, Berlin
2008A German House, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
2006Bricks in my Wall, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
2005Childminder, Forum Kunst, Rottweil
200431.8.1939, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
einsbisneunplusnull, Fiebach, & Minninger Galerie, Köln
2002Walden, Leipziger Platz, Berlin
2001Natural causes of death and other reasons, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
2000Bois d’œuvre, Kunstverein Ludwigsburg
Hotel Charon, Fiebach & Minninger Galerie, Köln
1999Land in sun, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
1997Hauserwerke, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
1996Christian Gögger Galerie, München
Bones, Galerie Fiebach, Minninger, Köln
1995The hideaway, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin; Galerie Christian Gögger, München
1994Predisposition for philosophy of nature, Zwinger Galerie, Berlin
1993White Headquarter, Pariser Platz, Berlin, with Zwinger and Wewerke galleries, Berlin
Steierischer Herbst, Graz, with Daniel Richter, Juli Susin and Gunter Reski
1992The class, Galerie H.J. Müller (Artlantis), Stuttgart
Institut für Heuristik, Berlin
1991Galerie Zwinger, Berlin
Galerie Tanja Grunert, Köln
1990Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Schweiz
1989Galerie Tanja Grunert, Köln

Group shows (selection)

2016Biennale Halberstadt
2015Sculpture park St. Martin, Österreich
Galerie Artlantis, Stuttgart
Galerie Fiebach & Minninger, Köln
2013sitzen, gehen, stehen, (f)liegen, Kunstverein K.I.S.S., Schloss Untergröningen
2012Cabinet of curiosities, Polmozbyt, Szczecin
2011Good neighbourhood, Studio I, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin
2009Berlin 89/09 – art between search for traces and utopia, Berlinische Galerie
Showing. An audiotour through Berlin by Karin Sander, Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin
2008Country & Western, Schloss Plüschow
Bridge, Fiebach & Minninger Galerie, Köln
2007Private/Corporate IV, DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Berlin
2006HannahArendtDenkraum, Former Jewish School for Girls, Berlin
Architektur wie sie im Buche steht, Architekturmuseum-Pinakothek der Moderne, München
2005Patron of the art on paper, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
2003impark, Contemporary art at Olympiapark Munich
2002a country lane, Galerie Kerstin Engholm, Wien
1999The space here is everywhere, Villa Merkel, Esslingen
1998U-Neues Deutschland – Fin de Siècle, F.M. Schwarz Galerie, Köln
1997Schöner Wohnen, Galerie Christian Gögger, München
Faktor Arbeit, NGBK Berlin
1994Collection Ohrt, Forum Stadtpark Graz
Europa ‘94 – Young European art in Munich
1992Galerie Grunert & Janssen, Köln
1991Gulliver’s travels, Galerie Sophia Ungers, Köln
1990Drawings, Galerie Tanja Grunert, Köln
1988Galerie Tanja Grunert, Köln