Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia

Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia_001Image courtesy of Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia
Swiss Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
From 13 May to 26 November 2017

 

Curator Philipp Kaiser has invited artists Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler and Carol Bove to show their work in the exhibition Women of Venice at the Pavilion of Switzerland at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. With the project Kaiser aims to explore Alberto Giacometti’s absence in the history of the Swiss Pavilion. During his lifetime, Giacometti declined all requests for him to exhibit his work there. The exhibition Women of Venice refers to the little known absence of Alberto Giacometti at the Biennale di Venezia.

 

Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia_002Image courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

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Set in the Pavilion of Switzerland, which was built in 1952 by Alberto’s brother, the renowned architect Bruno Giacometti, it will feature new work by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler and Carol Bove created specifically for the Biennale di Venezia in reference to the legacy and universe of Alberto Giacometti. With the exhibition, Kaiser intends to explore concepts of national identity as well as issues of cultural policy.

 

Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia_003Image courtesy of the Artists and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Vera Munro Gallery, Hamburg

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Over the past years, the artist duo Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler have used a documentary approach to delve into the archaeology of film. At the Biennale di Venezia, they will present their film installation Flora, based on discoveries made in the course of their research on the largely unknown American artist Flora Mayo who studied in Paris in the 1920s, at the same time as Giacometti, and who was his lover. Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler both reconstruct and re-imagine Flora Mayo’s life and work, also giving voice to her previously unknown son. Giacometti’s and Mayo’s relationship and their ensuing portrait busts reflect the creative energy generated by their collaborative artistic activity and also shed light on Alberto Giacometti’s early life.

 

Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia_004Image courtesy of David Zwirner, New York/London

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Carol Bove represents the second artistic position to be featured at the Swiss Pavilion. The Geneva-born, American artist’s work raises issues of theatricality and autonomy. With her installations and sculptural arrangements, she conjures up discursive, yet veiled connections and, with a lightness of touch, explores the vocabulary of sculpture. For the Swiss Pavilion exhibition, Bove takes Giacometti’s figurative constellations as a starting point, tracing their relational forces. As a response to Alberto Giacometti’s historic absence from the Swiss Pavilion, she will create a new group of sculptures referring to the artist’s late figurative work.

 

Women of Venice at La Biennale di Venezia Swiss Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale _005Image courtesy of Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

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Alberto Giacometti is without doubt one of the most influential Swiss artists of the 20th century. This makes his absence from the Biennale di Venezia all the more surprising. Even when his brother, the architect Bruno Giacometti, built the new Swiss Pavilion in 1952 and Alberto was asked to show there, he graciously turned the invitation down and suggested another artist instead. In 1956, he finally consented to put on display a group of plaster figures entitled Femme de Venise in the French Pavilion. As a form of international recognition for his oeuvre, he was awarded the Grand Prix for Sculpture in Venice in 1962, a few years before his death.

 

more. biennials.ch

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