"You know, art can be something which can really disempower people, or it can be a vehicle which can empower people."
Teresa Hubbard was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1965; Alexander Birchler was born in Baden, Switzerland, in 1962. Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler live and work in Austin, Texas, as life partners and artist-collaborators. Both received MFAs from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Canada. Hubbard and Birchler make short films and photographs about the construction of narrative time and space, without the context of a traditional story line; their open-ended, enigmatic narratives elicit multiple readings. They began their collaboration in the mid-1990s, making sculpture, installation, photography, and performance-based work. In an early photographic series, they created film-still-like images of people interacting with objects and architecture in ways that questioned simplistic narrative resolution. Their interest in the construction and negotiation of space, architecture, and the function of objects in three dimensions still plays a primary role in their work. In the video installations "Detached Building" (2001) and "Eight" (2001), the camera moves in and out of buildings in seamless loops, blurring the physical and chronological borders between here and there, before and after. Their productions reveal a strong sense of carefully constructed mise-en-scène that owes as much to natural-history-museum dioramas as to cinematic directorial techniques. These works seem to be spliced from a larger narrative, but the artists are unwilling to lead the viewer toward any specific apprehension of what that story might be. Hubbard and Birchler cite as influences Hitchcock, Malick, Mamet, Kafka, Flaubert, and Hopper—all of whom are notable for use of the psycho-spatial dimension. Hubbard/Birchler’s work has been shown at Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin; Foundation for Photography, Amsterdam; Center for Photography, Salamanca; Venice Biennale (1999); and National Gallery, Prague.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Hubbard & Birchler on the Art21 Blog