Bust 2017

Flora Mayo and Alberto Giacometti, with the bust she made of him, circa 1927. Photographer unknown. Original photograph belonging to Flora Mayo, kept under her mattress, lost. Film negative missing. Reproduction from only known duplicate print, archive of Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur. Original clay bust portrait of Alberto Giacometti by Flora Mayo, lost. Reconstructed and cast in brass.

Framed silver gelatin print, 34 5/8 x 28 3/8 in, Brass sculpture with concrete base, 60 5/8 x 18 7/8 x 21 in

Press Images | Flora 2017


PK The Swiss pavilion exhibition is called Women of Venice, referring to Giacometti's sculptural group, which he made in 1956 for a group exhibition in the French Pavilion. It was the only time Giacometti agreed to present his work in a national context. How does Flora Mayo t in here? Can Flora be seen as an homage?
AB I think it's an homage to women artists.
PK Is she an allegory?
AB Well . . . she's a real person. We tried to find and reflect the complexity of a real person. It's a discursive and historical constellation where you're zooming in without asking how legitimate she was as an artist, which actually isn't the interesting or the right question to ask.
TH Right! It's not the interesting question to us. Because one can say she failed as an artist, but she succeeded as a mother. In terms of weights and balances... it asks those kinds of questions.
AB That's a very good point. One of the greatest things that Flora wrote down was a conversation she had with Alberto about art.
TH She described Alberto coming up to her studio one night. He was helping her to fix a leak in the roof. They walked around her studio, looking at her work. Flora felt that all of her work was unfnished. In frustration, she told Alberto that she hated art. Alberto laughed and told her that that was a very good way to feel.

Excerpt from: 57. Venice Biennial. Women of Venice. At the Edge of the Frame 2017 Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler in conversation with Philipp Kaiser

Catalogue excerpt | Flora 2017


Swiss Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennial
"Women of Venice"
Mai 13 - November 26, 2017

The National Museum of Art Osaka, Japan
"Travelers: Stepping into the Unknown."
January 21 – May 6, 2018