During her residency at the Secession in the spring of 2022, Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann took the opportunity to solidify a research project that the artist had wanted to undertake in Vienna for some time around a central element: the cigarette.
The starting point for this research was a piece of clothing the artist bought at a flea market in Kyoto (Japan) in 2016 for 200 yen (2 euros): a shirt from the brand «Karl Helmut» with the logo «Tabak Trafik» as a repeating pattern. For Badaut Haussmann, the shirt has become a kind of research score; the garment, both intimate and social, constitutes a kind of narrative readymade, from which a wide range of stories can be told, whether personal or linked to a wider national and political history.
It was through this shirt, found in Japan, that the artist became familiar with the Austrian history of the «Tabak Trafik», a national tobacco distribution network—and press office—whose production was nationalised for almost 150 years at the TabakFarbik in Linz. The logo on the shirt and on the streets of Vienna consists of a burning cigarette in a red circle with the name of the distribution network on it.
With this investigation of the cigarette ‘motif’, Badaut Haussmann addresses a specific set of data of modern patriarchal capitalism, notably through the mass manipulation of opinion, the objective of which for industrialists is financial profit via the expansion of market share.
This project is a continuation of Badaut Haussmann’s recent research into questions of feminist architecture and design, which has been the subject of her last two solo exhibitions (at Galerie Allen, Paris in 2020 and at Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam in 2021), in which she has been able to explore these questions in greater depth. She has been particularly interested in the study of intermediate or dedicated places or environments, whether they are constructed with the function of allowing and encouraging, or on the contrary of forbidding - and the porous border that exists between these two reversals.
Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann’s research and production evolves at the intersection of several fields which includes domesticity, psychology and feminism, exploring a range of issues related to the habitus, the circulation of goods and typologies of gesture. Her artistic practice revolves around the notion of para-architecture (that which lies alongside or beyond architecture), which she sees as a working method. Badaut Haussmann uses sculpture, image, text, video and sound, while favouring installation, the exhibition being her main medium.