Hausmann, in a quoted remark from his book called 'Hyle,Ser-sueño en España' , described Ibiza as a dream, and that its history and way of being could only be understood if the island is considered as such.
For centuries Ibiza, located off the eastern coast of Spain, was almost completely isolated by sea and, together with a number of other factors, meant that more or less it kept its original appearance intact. As we all know, attracted by this authenticity, hippies began to spend their summers but also just moving in to live in communes at the beginning of 60s and since then there was just no going back.
But Raol Hausmann arrived way earlier than that. He turned up in Ibiza at the beginning of 30s. "The water is bright, clear, fresh." This is how he describes the sea of Ibiza in 1933. For German founder of Dadaism, the island represents the lost Arcadia, primitivism, the Mediterranean periphery, a beautiful place, virgin, cheap. "The exit door to a livable world". The young photographer fled the Nazis with his wife and a lover to take refuge on the small island. He stayed there between 1933 and 1936, fleeing from Germany due to his apperance on the list of “degenerate artists”, compiled by the Nazi regime. He arrived accompanied by his wife, Hedwig Mankiewitz, and Vera Broïdo, his lover, both Jews like him.
During his stay, Hausmann explored the most characteristic corners of the island. The simplicity, the morphology of its landscapes, the archaic customs of its inhabitants and its architecture quickly bound the artist. He admired the sense of autonomy and self-sufficiency embodied in these peasant homes.
His studies of the Ibizan fincas, which were the result of many cultural influences (Phoenician, Egyptian, Roman, Arabic), were intended to demonstrate that: – “the idea of a single origin was a fiction, and that the so-called ‘purity’ of a people or culture didn’t exist”. His portraits of the peasants of the island differ drastically from the ‘racial’ portraits so practiced at that time. Halfway between study and poetry, he described those dignified subjects as “fierce and freedom-loving”, and he liked to portray them in photographs outside of their usual context.
He made these houses one of the main reasons for his photographs as well as the inhabitants of Ibiza but not only Hausmann had a special sensitivity for nude photography, with the intention of projecting small but intense experiences. First time seeing his nude pictures I was wondering, how did he manage to take them. Now it was making all sense they were intimate with each other.
'I wanted to convey how for a man who has gone through all the breakdowns, loneliness and ambiguities, the world becomes an elementary experience through and through women, pushing for a new collectivity, a new social structure, even an interdimensional bond other than today's family.'
Raol Hausmann was known to be a rebel throughout his life. He never took anything for granted and always fought against all kinds of certainties that he considered unjustified. His life was a continuous struggle to counteract the authoritarianism and German fanaticism of the time. In this light, he always maintained a Dadaist stance faithful to contradiction. He profoundly questioned the state of the society and the so-called progress, at a time when it was considered purely beneficial; a general doctrine that later contributed to the disasters of two world wars.
One can argue that both the depth of Hausmann’s thinking and the extent of his centers of interest, as a writer, poet or as a photographer, are still undervalued nowadays. Reluctant to great artifacts or effects in his photography, but remarkable how this simplicity of his images is at the same time modest while very real and powerful.