UT collaborators receive prestigious art honor

Quanit Ali

UT professor Teresa Hubbard and Swiss affiliate researcher Alexander Birchler have been selected to showcase their work at the 57th Venice Biennale, one of the highest honors for an artist.

Hubbard and Birchler have been working collaboratively since the early 1990s, using their dual backgrounds in film and photography to display their research by combining these art forms, according to a UT News press release.

The duo will display their work at one of Biennale’s national pavilions in an exhibit called “Women of Venice,” which is centered on 20th century Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, who, despite his accolades, repeatedly declined offers to represent Switzerland at the Venice Biennale, according to a UT News press release.

Their research revolved around the life of Flora Mayo, a largely unknown French-taught artist, and her romantic life with Giacometti. They used the reconstruction of Mayo’s early life to gain further insight on Giacometti’s early life.

Hubbard and Birchler recreated Mayo’s past through the use of documentary-style film, incorporating facts about Mayo’s life and using some fictional material to tell her story.

Mayo studied in Paris during the 1920s, where she became romantically involved with Giacometti, a celebrated surrealist painter hailing from Switzerland.

Giacometti is widely regarded as one of Switzerland’s most prolific artists and was most known for his sculptures of the “Walking Man,” a rough stick figure-like structure. His most expensive piece of artwork, “Pointing Man,” also happens to be one of the most expensive sculptures sold at auction, with an estimated value of $126 million.

The Venice Biennale traces its origin back to 1895 where it had its first exhibition and has since grown to now offer over 60 national pavilions, or areas of artwork dedicated exclusively for those representing their affiliated nation.

Hubbard and Birchler will showcase their work for the second time since 1999 in the spring from May 13 to Nov. 26, 2017 in Venice, Italy.