Samuel Hasler | Artist in Residence

Samuel Hasler

Artist in Residence | 1 May – 30 June 2012

The Crash
The Crash | Adain Avion









Mission Gallery invited Cardiff based visual artist, Samuel Hasler to take part in a 2 month residency as part of the Mission Gallery Professional Development programme; to develop his ideas for a prayer book using the question, ‘What do you care about?’ as a point of departure.

Following the success of the event,  ‘Every weirdo in the world is on my wavelength’ in which Samuel invited the audience to ask him difficult questions and engaged the audience through his writings and reading, Mission Gallery selected Samuel to host the Mission Gallery event for Adain Avion (Adain Avion is Wales’s Artists taking the lead commission, funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council of Wales), ‘The Crash’ 26th June 2012.

The following works are from the texts Samuel was working on throughout his residency.

Samuel Hasler

I look around my studio. I’m looking for things that I find funny. If nothing funny then I might find something else… oddities, ironies, cheerful or tragic stories. It could be that I find something and think; It would be great to show people this.

I say  ‘This is the mix of stuff that I’ve been thinking about. I don’t know much more about it than that, but we can work it out together.’

Working it out together is how I try to make my performances. Sometimes the audience ask me questions about the work. I do try to get to hardest questions and the weirdest angles, the things that might most impact. I keep telling my self not to try and charm the audience, but I nearly always end up trying. It’s the nerves.

I talk about how things got the way they did and we sometimes make progress. There’s sometimes actions and demonstrations where things are moved, changed or arranged whilst people are there. The whole process is exposed as much as that’s possible. It’s not really very possible; but I do try my best to cut away the mythology of the artists magical special vision. All that drunk mythology can be absurd. It’s no absinthe adventure. Although absinthe is an adventure and one worth having; but really! Everyone drinks a lot these days. Call-centre workers and nurses and that lot, they’re the worst. Artists are pretty restrained by comparison.

Whilst I was working with the mission gallery as the artist in residence I was writing a prayer book. I’m still writing it. It’s not nearly finished. I started with the idea to write a prayer book because it’s a form of writing that’s very unfashionable and I think that it can open up some weird spaces. I don’t know anyone who reads prayer books and I never see them reviewed in the paper. I grew up in a religious home and went to church school and the literary merits of a prayer or prayerbook? I never remember any such thing being discussed. It seems that the form that has been eradicated from popular thought.

There’s some other stuff in the work to do with weirdos, outsiders, English eccentricism, the history of cultural tensions between Russia and Europe, theatre and women…. women… libido plays an uncomfortably prominent role… I cant explain how this is all part of it. But it is.

Below is a small part of what I’ve been working on. It’s unfinished and might not be in the book at the end and it might not seem that prayer-like to you.  It’s not the best bits, I’m too precious about those, you’ll have to wait till the book is ready for the best bits. These are the test bits. Testing testing…


Your problem Percy is that your being to open with your heart and not protecting your self, but in a slightly contradictory way you are also not exactly being honest about the real you. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence. You’re a really kind person but you should find a more gentle pace to reveal that. Have you taken a knock in confidence recently? I sense a tension. Maybe you feel that you are not putting your true self into your family and work life.

You should spend time developing your conviction in your true self. Take up a hobby or research your family tree. This ‘new you’ is key to an openness of heart that would not leave you exposed to the frivolities of the girls that have troubled you. Things will be quiet in the short term but I feel that you have slow goals that will be of great strength to you in the long run. Things are looking good for you. You can relax about what seems like a storm of small problems, they will soon resolve themselves.


Venice. This morning’s walk down the canal side. The waters are a yellow jello on this August day at the summers supper, left out till this morning, sticky with flies. And here, today, sits a model. She’s an Italian stunner with the black hair and juicy fruity eyes in an exotic blue.  And there is loads of photographers doing their pics for the press and for the leaflets for the book launch. And the photographers are all chewing gum. Chew chew. Perfect light. She leans back on a deckchair. Chew chew. Snap Snap. And behind her the waters are a murky yellow jello. And now everything is set up. Set up – for we have a dirty  feeling a lot like we are about to embark on an episode of Columbo. Like a mystery could happen tonight. We’ve got a wobble in the guts, when we think about the thing (and there’s only one thing) that could happen. It’s become so television. Another Columbo show.  Another Italian stunner who’s got to go. Chew Chew. Snap Snap. Reclining. Smiling. Chew Chew. Here in a summers supper – August left out to fade till it’s nearly gone a bit September. But the jello’s not turned yet, just a few flies that bounce on the surface… you can pick out the bad bits… just a taste… Get me a spoon!



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