Giacometti’s Artistic Odyssey: A Journey through 20th-Century Sculpture.

Surrealism is an artistic trend originating from Symbolism and psychoanalysis, placing the irrational above reason. According to the policy, this trend aims to liberate people from all social shackles, express their inner self and natural thinking, not constrained by reason, logic, morality, aesthetics, economics, and religion. . The works of Surrealist artists record all the psychological states that are always changing in the subconscious, regardless of reality or dream, sanity or madness, right or wrong.

The Manifesto of Surrealism was given by Andre Breton in 1924: “Surrealism is the automaticity of psychology expressed in words, in writing or by some other means.” During World War I, Breton worked as a medical attendant in a hospital in Nantes for victims of shell shock. There he tested some of Freud’s interpretation of dreams and he gained faith in that unconscious world. The unconscious operates with a completely different kind of energy than that of analytical thinking, which tries to remake reality according to the most extreme desires. In the context of society at that time, Breton and other surrealist artists were convinced by psychoanalytic explanations.

Europe experienced two fierce wars. Human life is devastated, oppressed, isolated. All values ​​of life are turned upside down. Along with the birth of Psychoanalysis, Existentialism was also an important idea for Western philosophy at that time. Those values ​​make people see the reality of life as always lonely, bitter, unhappy, tragic, disappointed, bored with life, suffering and sinful, which are absurd. From here, the artist can ask: “If this life is absurd, is it? Art also needs to be absurd…”. And unreality, dreams, subconsciousness, human pain… are common characteristics in surrealist art.

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)

Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draftsman and printmaker. Beginning in 1922, he lived and worked mainly in Paris.

Giacometti was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. His work was particularly influenced by artistic styles such as Cubism and Surrealism. Philosophical questions about the human condition, as well as existential debates, have played an important role in his work.

Like Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Giacometti was also influenced by African, Oceanic and South American art, and the works of ancient Egypt. Typical of this influence are the two works “Couple” and “Spoon Woman” (1926). The work begins with the simplification and abstraction of human images, leading to the construction of masculinity and femininity in symbolic form.

Woman with a slit throat, 1932, Giacometti

“Woman with a Cut Throat” is one of the key works of Surrealism, the distortion and displacement of anatomical parts to express the fears and urges of the subconscious. The ferocity with which the human figure is expressed in fantasies of brutal erotic assault. Here a pelvis-like vegetal form terminates one arm, and a vegetal-like spindle, the only movable part, hideously fixes the other; The woman’s spine pins one leg by fusing with it. Memories of violence are frozen in the rigidity of severity. It suggests a psychological torment and brutal misery.

The famous work “Suspended Shadow” (1931), with its erotic connotations, was admired by many surrealists, because it meant to oppose the sexual instincts of the unconscious. In addition to its obvious eroticism, there are two characteristics of the “Suspended Shadow” that make it a central object of realist sculpture. The hanging shadow participates in real movement. As Giacometti explained: “Despite all my efforts, a sculpture creates the illusion of movement, one leg moving forward, one arm raised, head looking to the side. I can only create such movement if it is real and realistic. I also wanted to give the feeling of movement as it was created . ” Because movement within the suspended sphere affirms the object’s physical existence, the cage defines the object’s physical space, but it is boxed in from its surroundings – part of the space. real and somehow divided, the suspended ball and crescent try to open a crack in the continuous surface of reality.

And that is the experience of a dream, the foundation of surrealism, because surrealism is like a dream in the subconscious, it is a fragment of real space that has been changed – Because It is created by desire. desired by the dreamer, but at the same time appears as something independent. It is for that reason that Giacometti spoke of his works as “projections” that materialized out there in the world, not as something he wanted to make up.

Philosophical questions about humanity, as well as existential and phenomenological debates play an important role in his work. Around 1935 he abandoned his surrealist influences to pursue a deeper analysis of figurative imagery.

And the philosophies of existential philosophy have greatly influenced and penetrated Giacometti’s art. He completely destroyed traditional, scholastic rules and concepts, the basic principles of anatomy, the law of near, far, and near of scholasticism. His forms are created in a different order, with a different standard – that is the idea of ​​artistic innovation, free from prejudices, free from the habits of old psychology and old ways of looking. It was these events that freed him from the constraints of traditional concepts, allowing him to develop a unique, unique, profound and personal style.

Truly unique and unusual. All the shapes of the human body covering the face were stretched by him, the details of the eyes, nose, mouth, ears and facial features were rough, distorted, deformed and abnormal. Eyes wide open staring forward in a state of bewilderment, confusion, and disbelief. The surface of the work is always rough and rough like a prehistoric creature, or like a tree trunk with many knots, old, shriveled, burned gray, or like randomly patched welded metal blocks… gave the work an extraordinary uniqueness, making people think of people in the underworld, disabled and suffering. Standing in front of Giacometti’s works, the viewer’s mood is disturbed, haunted, as if space, time and everything around it seem to be engulfed in silence!? Perhaps Giacometti wants to portray the deepest, most mysterious core of humanity – Is it the soul?

Typical statues are: “Portrait of Women” 1946, “Three People Walking” 1948, “Woman in Venice” 1950, “Dog” 1951, “On the City Square”, “Man Walking in the Square”, “Man Drifting in the Rain” and a series of portraits of his two younger brothers Diego Giacometti and Bruno Giacometti, and later of Isabel and Annetti. They all express strong, profound and unique impulses in Giacometti’s concept of sculpture.

People always have the desire to achieve ultimate miracles. But that is just an illusion. The bodies and faces in Giacometti’s works represent the longing but helplessness and loneliness of fleeting human life, the future and fate can never be determined. The figures are wandering, confused, aimless, not knowing where to go, where to go, no place to stay, all of them seem to be hidden in the endless, endless darkness, and we, humans, are completely helpless. , meaningless before the emptiness of space and time.

All the people in Giacometti’s works are like people of the past, it evokes the emptiness and meaninglessness of modern society. For Giacometti, perhaps sculpture is not the real form of a person, but the silhouette, the nuance of the person that is important. The shapes he creates are like the way a person looks at his own shadow, it is not the external expression but the profoundness hidden behind things.

Between 1938 and 1944, Giacometti sculptures had a maximum height of 7cm (2.75 inches). The small size reflects the actual distance between the position of the artist and his model. The people he created from memory, the smaller their size, the farther their distance from reality, that is the space and time he wanted to confirm in his work, as he observed. concept: Those are “projections” that he wants to realize in the world. After the war, Giacometti’s family created his most famous sculptures: his giant and slender engravings. These sculptures are personal experiences and viewings in an imaginary but real space, a tangible space such as a square, room, street… but we cannot access it.

Some other authors

Besides Giacometti, Surrealism is also known to many artists with many other famous works.

In 1936, a 23-year-old Swiss artist named Meret Oppenheim bought a teacup, saucer and spoon from a Paris department store and wrapped them in the cream and tan shell of a gazelle. China. “Luncheon in the Skin” is Oppenheim’s little hairy gift that became an iconic work of surrealism – the artistic movement that sprang from the brilliant trail of Dadaism. The work became the centerpiece of the first surreal exhibition devoted to objects. The work evokes many emotions and multi-dimensional comments. And it has become a typical representative of S. Frued’s era, a theme that evokes human sexual instincts.

Along with Meret Oppenheim’s “Luncheon in the Skin,” Man Ray’s “The Gift” are works of the surrealist type. These are monstrous combinations that create feelings of dysfunction, everyday objects having their original function negated. “Luncheon in the skin” no longer has the same comfort, softness, and warmth as when it was the material of an outfit, but on the contrary, it evokes more negative feelings. Man Ray’s “gift” makes people feel painful and prickly.

In addition to the artists mentioned above, Surrealist Sculpture also includes many other famous artists such as Max Ernst, Gonzales, Picacsso, Arp… Born in the context of the crisis of the bourgeoisie, Surrealism is a weapon of Breton to fight positivism, is how Breton and other artists attacked “Bourgeois rationality”.


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