Teresa Hubbard (*1965 Dublin, Ireland) and Alexander Birchler (* 1962 Baden, Switzerland), working as a couple for 10 years now, live and work in Austin, Texas.
Via their precise and unique pictorial idiom Hubbard and Birchler are doing a very important contribution to contemporary photography and video art. In the last few years they already acquired international acclaim by participating in exhibitions like the Biennial in Melbourne (1999) and in Venice (1999). Their large-scale color photographs like Falling Down (1996), Holes (1997), Stripping (1998) and Gregorīs Room I -III (1998/99) are series which are characterized by the renunciation of any faithful reproduction of reality. The artist rather focus on 'remaking' reality by constructing new worlds and designing them down to the tiniest detail - whether it is photography or video.
In constructing reality rather than imitating it the artists work both like photographers and directors using professional actors (in former works their own person). In most cases the plot is based on literary fiction (Flaubert/Kafka for example), even though the reconstruction of the scenes hardly refers back to the fictional story. Rather the photographic work unfolds its own narrative force. Thus the artists succeed in revealing the illusionary character of photography in a striking and convincing way.
Their most recent series Film Stills and Arsenal (both 2000) are based on photographs of facades of cinemas which are manipulated by computer to alienate reality according to the pictorial viewpoint of the artist. The interior views show empty cinemas and projection rooms. The scenes are constructed in a way that the cinema itself becomes the subject for representation rather than a real space.
The center of the exhibitions will contain two brand-new videos.
Eight (2001) - High Definition Video with sound transferred on DVD. Duration 3 mins 35 secs, loop. The setting of Eight revolves around a birthday party, a young girl and a house on a rainy night. The camera work in Eight incorporates a measured, steady dolly movement from one room interior to another. Slowly, the camera reveals that the interior is an exterior space, a suburban backyard in the middle of a rain storm. As the camera moves through this backyard, this interior, in turn, is revealed to be an interior room. Amidst this unstable depiction of place, the storm appears inside and outside, following the young girl, who alone, walks through one space to the other, salvaging cake from the party table. The title Eight is an open reference to the age of the girl and the figure eight, a shape with no beginning and no end.
Detached Building (2001) High Definition Video with sound transferred on DVD. Duration 5 mins 38 secs, loop. In Detached Building the camera is in a continual state of motion as it dollies along a track inside a tin shed, through a wall and out into a rural backyard landscape. It is evening and the shed is cluttered with tools, household junk, beer cans and music equipment. Outside the shed, the landscape is strewn with other forgotten construction debris. At the back of the yard, we see a large skeletal structure of an unfinished two storey building. As the camera passes from inside to outside, a rock band appears in the shed, in the mid of a rehearsal session. Outside, a teenage girl appears, in the process of throwing rocks at the empty building looming in the background. As the camera rolls from one end of the track to the other, there are small and seamless jumps in time as the camera passes through the threshold separating the inside and the outside. The narrative of the band and the teenage girl is based around this split, as an detachment of space, time an gender.
Both video works were shot on location in Austin, Texas, with each project incorporating a local cast, film and sound crew. Post production took place in Austin and Los Angeles.
The title of the exhibition, Wild Walls, refers to Alfred Hitchcock, who used those moveable walls for the first time in his film "Rope" (1948) in order to get a steady dolly movement through the stage.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a full colored catalogue (english / german) with approx. 140 pages, containing essays by Philipp Kaiser and Konrad Bitterli and an interview with the artist by Martin Hentschel.