Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Flora Redux
by Teresa Hubbard (Artist), Alexander Birchler (Artist), Stephanie Barron (Contributor), Maeve Connolly (Contributor), Philipp Kaiser (Contributor), Christina Vegh (Contributor)
In the Swiss Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, the Swiss American artist duo Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler (born 1965 and 1962 respectively) presented Flora and Bust, exploring the life of the unknown American artist Flora Mayo, with whom Alberto Giacometti had a love affair in Paris in the 1920s. While Giacometti is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, Mayo’s oeuvre has been destroyed, her biography relegated to a footnote in Giacometti scholarship. In this acclaimed work, which had its American premiere at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2019, Hubbard / Birchler reframe Mayo’s history through a feminist perspective that interweaves reconstruction, reenactment and documentary into a hybrid form of storytelling. Flora, a double-sided film installation, is conceived as a conversation between Mayo and her son, David, whom the artists discovered living near Los Angeles. The work generates a multifaceted dialogue between a mother and son, Mayo and Giacometti, Paris and Los Angeles, and past and present. This richly illustrated book depicts the journey of Hubbard / Birchler’s process and is accompanied by a transcript of the film installation, a visual chronology of Flora Mayo’s life, and conversations with the artists.