The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will present Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Flora, the U.S. premiere of the artists’ film installation and the accompanying work, Bust. The work is based on the artist duo Teresa Hubbard / Alexander 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 celebrated artists of the 20th century, Mayo’s oeuvre has been destroyed and her biography was relegated to a footnote in Giacometti scholarship. Hubbard / Birchler reframe this history, using a feminist perspective to bring Mayo’s compelling biography to life through a hybrid form of storytelling that weaves together reconstruction, reenactment, and documentary.
Flora is a double-sided film installation, with each side revealing a different story while sharing the same soundtrack. The work is conceived as a conversation between Mayo and her son, David, whom the artists found living near Los Angeles after an exhaustive international search. Flora generates a multifaceted dialogue—between mother and son, Mayo and Giacometti, Paris and Los Angeles, and past and present. The exhibition also features Bust, inspired by a lost photograph showing Mayo and Giacometti flanking a portrait bust she made of him. Bust comprises a photographic reproduction and reconstruction of Mayo’s no-longer-extant sculpture. Bust and Flora can now be seen in dialogue with LACMA’s remarkable group of nine sculptures and one painting by Giacometti, which occupy a dedicated permanent collection gallery on Level 2 of the Ahmanson Building.