The Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art presents Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: “Flora”

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Image courtesy of Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler

Two important new works by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, Flora and Screw up, both in 2017, joined the permanent collection of the Modern, which already includes their Greater Paris Texas, 2009, and Holes, 1997. Flora is based on Hubbard / Birchler’s 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 famous 20th century works, Mayo’s work was destroyed and his biography relegated to a footnote in the Giacometti scholarship.

Blending reconstruction, re-enactment and documentary in a hybrid form of storytelling, Hubbard / Birchler reframes the story through a feminist perspective and brings Mayo’s compelling biography to life. The two-sided film installation is designed as a conversation between Flora Mayo and her son, David Mayo – which the artists discovered after extensive international research. Flora unfolds like a multifaceted dialogue through time, between a mother and her son, Mayo and Giacometti, Europe and the United States, the history of art and contemporary life, the obvious and the imaginary .

Screw up is inspired by a photograph of Mayo and Giacometti flanking a bust she made of him. The work expands the formal and conceptual layers of Hubbard / Birchler’s storytelling, juxtaposing Florathe tale of the ephemeral and of the loss with the tangible re-imagination of the sculpture. Flora and Screw up premiered in the Swiss pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. The adaptive installation to the site will include elements linked to the genesis of the works, on loan from the artists.

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