This multiple-artist presentation began with a somewhat idiosyncratic prompt: Respond to the absence of
from the Swiss pavilion’s history. The result, however, is strikingly cohesive. Both
and artist duo
stay true to their respective practices while exploring the work and cultural resonance of the behemoth Modernist sculptor. In the process, they separately address how women, in particular, informed Giacometti’s work—and how their influence on his oeuvre has been largely forgotten.
In the pavilion’s quiet courtyard, Bove reimagines Giacometti’s figurative sculptures, like his “Femmes de Venise” series. Through Bove’s hand, they transform into a group of blue, cylindrical forms typical of her style, which resembles industrial tubing that’s been crushed and swathed in bright colors.
The tour de force in the pavilion, however, is Hubbard & Birchler’s Flora (2017). The 30-minute film, which is well worth a full watch, traces the life of artist Flora Mayo, Giacometti’s contemporary and lover. The double-sided screen tells her story through both documentary footage, on one side, and a recreation of events in her life, on the other. Together, they resurrect Flora’s art, which she left behind in Paris when she ran out of money, and her dream to become an artist, which was thwarted by the pressures of being a single mother in the 1930s.