Looking for a unique way today to celebrate International Cat Day?
The wry yet touching “Missing Truffauy” is one the latest outdoor installations to join the Contemporary Austin’s growing Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.
“Missing Truffaut” is by Austin-based artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler.
Situated on the lower grounds along pathway a few yards from Lake Austin, “Missing Truffaut” is an ordinary and fully functional wooden pole street light (it’s lit at night) with a missing cat poster stapled to it.
The homemade-looking notice advertises a lost black and white male cat and who “answers to the name Truffaut (true-faux)” and an Austin local phone number to call with info.
If you call that number you’ll hear a message from a young girl who gives a brief homage to the late French New Wave film director Francois Truffaut before asking plaintively, “Have you seen my cat?”
In pristine yet enigmatic video and photographic work, Hubbard and Birchler have long plumed the liminal nature of cinema culture — the ways in which films have left residual influences on places and people.
Their 30-minute film “Giant,” for example, poetically probed the skeletal remains of the set built for the 1956 movie “Giant” outside of Marfa, Texas.
Hubbard and Birchler actually saw a poster for a lost cat named Truffaut a few years ago in East Austin, its rather innocent homage to a genius of film proving a touching inspiration for the installation.
And when “Missing Truffaut” was installed a few years ago outside University of Texas’ Visual Art center, the artists personally fielded the messages, one person reading a scene from an original film script.
Yes, the movies matter to many.
Hubbard and Birchler serve on the Contemporary’s board. “Missing Truffaut” has been added to the museum’s collection as a gift of Jeanne and Mickey Klein, also museum board members.