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Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in

15.06.24 – 20.10.24

Exhibition Church

Sophia Süßmilch

Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in: This sentence comes from the fairy tale The Three Little Pigs.

The artist Sophia Süßmilch makes many different types of art. She uses many different methods. She paints, creates sculptures and performances, as well as textile, photographic and video works. [Performance art is an artistic presentation. A show. On a stage or in a museum]. In her art, Sophia Süßmilch deals with the great questions of human history: Why are we in the world? What makes us human? Or: What is love? What does morality mean? Sophia Süßmilch tackles these questions with a great deal of humour. In her very own, playful way and in her own language. Her art confronts the viewer with the absurdities of social norms and rules. It can touch or repel.

Sophia Süßmilch has developed a solo exhibition and a performance for the church nave of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück. The performance has been shown at the opening of the exhibition. The exhibition shows sculptures, drawings, photography and textiles. The artworks are sensually accompanied by music. The music was composed especially for this exhibition. The lyrics were written by Sophia Süßmilch. The lyrics and the visual language of the exhibition are reminiscent of stories from classic fairy tales. The drawings in the church nave, for example, show scenes that could come from fairy tales. Fairy tales make a clear distinction between good and evil. They are supposed to teach us how to behave good and right. But this exhibition shows that it’s not that simple. Who actually decides what is good and right? The song lyrics are sung from the perspective of cannibals. [Cannibals eat human meat] They eat children. Like the witch in the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. At the same time, the cannibals also love their children. They want to devour them and protect them in their bellies from the evil in the world. The cannibals are therefore good and evil at the same time.

The three guinea pigs that live in the exhibition also tell of this in-between: In some countries they are kept as pets, in others as farm animals. This means that their meat is eaten. This shows that some rules in our society are not as fixed as they seem. They are culturally shaped. In other words, they are not innate, but also acquired. Various guinea pig recipes in the exhibition also remind us of this. They hang on the walls of the church nave and can only be read with binoculars.

With the exhibition and performance, Sophia Süßmilch questions the special bond between “child” and “mother”. And she questions the role that people that can bear children have in our society. In the performance, she discusses this with her own mother. Even today, our view of parenthood is still shaped by a male gaze. This means that people with wombs should primarily give birth to children. And take care of them. That is the ideal. Sophia Süßmilch demystifies this ideal. She takes a fictitious, eerily fairytale-like picture of the future to its final conclusion. [Fictitious means: the artist has made it up. The story is not set in reality]. In this future, people resist. They no longer want to be birthing machines. Right down to the last consequence: what would happen if people capable of giving birth decided together: We will no longer bear children? We refuse?

The title of the exhibition also tells of the male gaze that determines our idea of parenthood and family: Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in is a quote from the fairy tale The Three Little Pigs. In the fairy tale, the wolf tries to eat the three little pigs. The three guinea pigs in the exhibition are a reminder of this. The same quote is also used in the horror film The Shining by Stanley Kubrick. In this story, a man tries to kill his family. In both stories, the wolf and the man fail. They are unable to realise their plans. They have underestimated the strength of the seemingly weaker ones. They felt too superior. This shows: We can defend ourselves against the seemingly stronger ones.

The performance only took place once on 15.06.2024 at Kunsthalle Osnabrück. The performance is part of the exhibition. The lyrics and music were performed by 2 musicians, the artist Sophia Süßmilch and her mother. 8 performers and dancers also took part. The documentation of the performance can be seen in the Kunsthalle.

The Performance and exhbitition deal with relevant topics that can provoke strong emotions and memories, such as domestic violence, miscarriages and childlessness. We would like to inform our visitors transparently about this.

A visit to the exhibition and Sophia Süßmilch’s performance cannot be categorised as suitable for children. An age rating of 16 and over is recommended. The decision to visit Sophia Süßmilch’s exhibition is up to the visitors or their parents. During the performance childcare was provided. An awareness team was also available.

Are you looking for a sympathetic ear, professional support or advice? Or do you want to find out more about these topics? Here you will find a growing reading list with further information and offers of counselling or help.

Sophia Süßmilch (DE) lives and works in Munich, Berlin and Vienna. The artist’s most recent solo exhibitions included the Francisco Carolinum. Landes Museum, Linz (2023), for which a comprehensive publication was published by DISTANZ Verlag in 2024, at the G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig (2023), at MARTINEZ, Cologne (2022 and 2020), at Russi Klenner, Berlin (2021) and at Belvedere 21, Vienna (2018). Among others, Süßmilch has also participated in major group exhibitions at Ludwig Forum Aachen (2021), Kunstpalast Düsseldorf (2020) and Kunstforum Wien (2020). Sophia Süßmilch is the winner of the Förderpreis für Bildende Kunst der Landeshauptstadt München (2020) and the Bayerischen Kunstförderpreis (2018). She received the Marianne Defet Painting Scholarship (2022-2023) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Study Scholarship in the USA (2011).

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