© Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, photo: Thomas Dashuber
Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste

Flora. Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler

On the occasion of the Venice Biennale in 2017, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler presented the double-sided film installation Flora and the accompanying work Bust in the Swiss Pavillion. The work is based on their discoveries about the unknown American artist Flora Mayo, with whom the Swiss sculptor 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 and her biography was previously relegated as a footnote in studies of Giacometti. The Sammlung Goetz presents the installation in an exhibition on the premises of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts.

Flora Mayo was first publicly mentioned as a side note, in a dismissive and sexist context, in the best-selling, Giacometti: A Biography by James Lord published in 1985. A black-and-white reproduction in the book shows Mayo and Giacometti, circa 1927, both in their twenties, sitting on either side of a bust portrait Mayo made of him. The photograph of the couple fascinated Hubbard/Birchler, and set them on an international search traversing Europe and the United States to find out about Flora Mayo and what happened to her. Their research led to the discovery of David Mayo, Flora’s only surviving child, living near Los Angeles. Bust is inspired by this lost photograph and consists of a reproduction of the image and a reconstruction of Mayo’s destroyed sculpture.

Hubbard/Birchler bring Flora Mayo’s compelling biography to life through a feminist perspective that interweaves reconstruction, reenactment and documentary into a hybrid form of storytelling. Each side of Flora reveals a different story – yet, remarkably, they share the same soundtrack. The work is conceived as an impossible conversation between Flora Mayo – incorporating excerpts from her unpublished letters, and her son, David – who had little knowledge about his mother’s artistic past. Flora creates a multifaceted dialogue–between a mother and son, Mayo and Giacometti, Paris and Los Angeles, and past and present.

The Irish, American and Swiss artist Teresa Hubbard and the Swiss artist Alexander Birchler have been working together since 1990. In their narrative-driven film installations, photography and sculpture, they push the boundaries between reality and fiction in which the roles of memory, stategic digression and biography are entwined. The Sammlung Goetz, which already has key works by the artist couple including the trilogy Gregor's Room (1998/99), Single Wide (2002), Eight (2001) / Eighteen (2013), and House with Pool (2004), has supported the production of Flora early on. Both Flora (2017) and Bust (2017) are now part of the Sammlung Goetz.

Curated by Susanne Touw

With the support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

Flora. Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler

144 S., 100 ill., hardcover
2019, Hatje Cantz Verlag, Berlin
ISBN 978-3-7757-4564-2
€ 26,00

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© Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled", 1992

An exhibition project by the Sammlung Goetz in public space

The black-and-white photograph "Untitled" (1992) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in which a figure’s ghostly shadow is captured on a billowing curtain, is part of the artist’s billboard series. The concept behind the work is that the owner produces the image as a public poster. Regardless of how often it is printed, it is always unique. In the context of Munich’s Various Others project, the Sammlung Goetz is presenting "Untitled" (1992) on five billboards in around the city and in front of its own exhibition building in Munich.


[Translate to English:]

Cyrill Lachauer. I am not sea, I am not land

Sammlung Goetz in Haus der Kunst

Cyrill Lachauer (*1979 in Rosenheim, lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles) develops his extensive projects on long journeys, and delves deeply into the local cultures of the places he visits. For the exhibition by the Sammlung Goetz in the former air-raid shelter of Haus der Kunst, Lachauer has created a new multi-part installation, which includes films, videos, photographs and texts.

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