Unseen and Unheard

Throughout her incarceration she wrote extraordinary and intense letters to her husband Michael, a schoolteacher in Mannheim, begging him to collect her. Of the existing letters of which there are twelve some of them are written in a fairly legible, flowing script. From these we can glean that she longed to see her family and to visit the countryside. She expresses the wish to go to the theatre, to have a good piece of cake and a glass of red wine. However according to the medical notes Hauck’s behaviour did not reflect this wish. (1) She wished to live the traditional life of a housewife with a social identity but was undermined by her deep and pathological aversion to the family. We are told that she would have liked to live in the forest on her own. Her response to this conflict is reflected dramatically in the less legible of the letters where she over writes the text with several layers of repetition. Written on thin, regulation paper with graphite they usually cover the entire page from edge to edge. Initially these letters resemble small woven cloths with their densely crafted script. Although she does not use imagery the words mounted on each other as they are describe a landscape. The pared down power of the script was an extraordinary precursor of the text-based work of many twentieth century artists.