Alberto Giacometti: Studio-World
The works of sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti (1901—1966) embody the attempt to capture in material the sense of dread and unease in postwar human existence. Unlike him, many artists who worked in the years after World War II shunned figurative expression—shell-shocked and perhaps seeking an escape from human reality, they turned instead to abstraction. Giacometti ׳s figures are walking substance that seems to fade as it rises, finally disappearing into thin air. Most of the male figures walk from nowhere into nothingness, while the female figures seem to be in a meditative anxious tremor. During this period, Giacometti created relatively small sculptures, and even the large ones appear fragile and express a new political order: the human figure cannot be monumental after such loss of humanity.
In the 1940s and 50s, examining the human condition became Giacometti ׳s focus, especially through the polarities on which his oeuvre rests: being — nothingness, man — woman, studio — world, universal — personal. The anonymous figure of the Woman of Venice (ten female figures he sculpted for the French Pavilion at the 1956 Venice Biennale) is also his wife, Annette; the traces of his fingers molding the body are also the erotic caressing of a beloved. The male figures evoke his brother Diego, who was his regular model, and perhaps even Giacometti himself, who as a young child served as a model for his artist father.
The internal realm of the studio—populated by figures both made and living—served Giacometti as his workplace and everyday dwelling. The space was as much a reflection of the world, as it was his most intimate place, physically and mentally. His late works existed as independent entities in the studio, regardless of their status as objects to be publicly exhibited. With their unfinished, raw appearance, they remain immediate, and ready to be seen.