Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler
Sound Speed Marker
28 February–31 July 2014
Opening: 28 February, 6–8pm
108 East San Antonio Street
Marfa, TX 79843
Ballroom Marfa is pleased to present Sound Speed Marker by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler. The three video installations and related photographs, covering a span of five years of work, explore film’s relationship to place and the traces that movie making leaves behind. The exhibition includes the premiere of Giant (2014), a work commissioned by Ballroom Marfa. The exhibition will be on view at Ballroom Marfa until July 31, 2014 and will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue to be published in December 2014. Sound Speed Marker will travel to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in December 2014 and the Blaffer Museum in Houston in May 2015.
Grand Paris Texas (2009) considers the physical and social space of a dead movie theater, a forgotten song and the inhabitants of a small town. The Grand Theater, an abandoned, pigeon-filled movie theater in downtown Paris, serves as the protagonist in a narrative that explores Paris as a meta-location constructed through celluloid and soundtrack. Grand Paris Texas connects three seminal movies of the Southwest: Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (1984), Bruce Beresford’s Tender Mercies (1983), and King Baggot’s classic silent film, Tumbleweeds (1925).
In Movie Mountain (Méliès) (2011), Hubbard/Birchler explore the site of a mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert near the town of Sierra Blanca. The project generates several narrative strands that interweave memory and forgetting. Movie Mountain (Méliès) features a script-writing cowboy as well as local residents whose relatives performed in an original silent picture filmed at the mountain. The project also encounters a possible link between Movie Mountain and Gaston Méliès, the brother of famous filmmaker George Méliès.
Giant (2014) interweaves signs of life and vistas of a decaying movie set built outside of Marfa: the Reata mansion from the 1956 Warner Bros. film Giant starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. After filming was completed the three-sided facade was left behind in the landscape. Hubbard/Birchler explore the skeletal remains of the set as seasons change, day turns to night and parts of the structure swing and fall off. Scenes of a film crew recording the current conditions are juxtaposed with a Warner Bros. office in 1955, where a secretary types up the location contract for the motion picture that has yet to be created.
Teresa Hubbard, born in Dublin, Ireland 1965 and Alexander Birchler, born in Baden, Switzerland 1962 have been working collaboratively in video, photography and sculpture since 1990. Their work is held in numerous private and public collections internationally. Work in this exhibition appears courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin.
It is part of Ballroom Marfa’s mission to enable artwork that would be impossible to realize elsewhere. This project—with its roots in the landscape that we call home—brings Hubbard/Birchler’s trilogy to a close, and clarifies Ballroom Marfa’s role as an organization committed to commissioning new work.
Grand Paris Texas was commissioned by the Modern Art Museum Fort Worth.
Movie Mountain (Méliès) was created with generous support of the Alturas Foundation.