Carol Bove and Hubbard/Birchler to Represent Switzerland at 2017 Venice Biennale

The pavilion has been conceptualized as a homage to Alberto Giacometti.

Artist Carol Bove. Photo courtesy David Zwimer, New York/London.
Artist Carol Bove. Photo courtesy David Zwimer, New York/London.

It has been announced by the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia, that curator Philipp Kaiser has invited artist duo Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler and sculptor Carol Bove to show at in the Swiss Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. The exhibition “Women of Venice” will use a contemporary lens to reflect on the history of the pavilion and the contributions from Switzerland to the Biennale di Venezia.

The focus of the show will be Kaiser’s exploration of the legacy of enigmatic Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (d. 1962), who never exhibited at the Swiss Pavilion which was built by his brother, renowned architect Bruno Giacometti, despite numerous requests for him to show there.

Women of Venice will center on concepts of national identity and cultural policy by focusing on the life of Giacometti, who  repeatedly declined to exhibit his work at the Swiss pavilion. From an early age, he saw himself as an international artist and as such, avoided being defined through a national identity.

Collaborative artist duo Hubbard and Birchler have been working together since 1990, exploring social life, memory and history. They will present their film installation Flora at the biennale in 2017, the culmination of their research on the largely unknown American artist Flora Mayo, who studied in Paris in the 1920s and was the lover of Alberto Giacometti.

Courtesy the Artists and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Vera Munro Gallery, Hamburg.

Teresa Hubbard/ Alexander Birchler. Courtesy the Artists and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Vera Munro Gallery, Hamburg.

Hubbard and Birchler will weave together both fictional and documentary material in order to reconstruct Mayo’s life and work.

“Hubbard and Birchler’s filmic essays are also in their way detective stories, with all the poetic and philosophical resonance that the form at its best can offer,” critic Jeffrey Kastner writes in a statement. “Not run-of-the-mill whodunnits, but examinations of the ways in which knowing and not-knowing are related.”

An attendee views 'Solar Feminine, 2013' by artist Carol Bove at the Art Basel Miami Beach in 2015. Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

An attendee views Solar Feminine (2013) by artist Carol Bove at the Art Basel Miami Beach in 2015. Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

In a similar display of opposing notions, Geneva-born artist Carol Bove will use Giacometti’s figurative constellations as a starting point to create a new group of sculptures which will refer to the late artist’s work. As a response to his notable absence from the Swiss Pavilion, Bove will raise issues of theatricality and autonomy in her contribution to the 2017 biennale.


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