Category Archives: Giacometti

The closer I come

The more I work, the more I see things differently, that is, everything gains in grandeur every day, becomes more and more unknown, more and more beautiful. The closer I come, the grander it is, the more remote it is.

— Giacometti

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Even with an accidental model, as I was, I think what he wanted was to create a sort of fascination to prevent us from escaping. As if we were prisoners. He wanted us to be both his prisoners and his prey, but he also wanted us to oppose him with what we were. You had to remain yourself, not to appear to be a puppet, to be controlled. You had to keep your personality while abandoning yourself to his predation.

— One of Giacometti’s sitters, here

The vanishing point

When we look at the sculptures of Giacometti, there is a vantage point where they are no longer subject to the fluctuations of appearance or to the movement of perspective. One sees them absolutely: no longer reduced, but withdrawn from reduction, irreducible, and, in space, masters of space through their power to substitute for space the unmalleable, lifeless profundity of the imaginary. This point, whence we see them irreducible, puts us at the vanishing point ourselves; it is the point at which here coincides with nowhere. To write is to find this point. No one writes who has not enabled language to maintain or provoke contact with this point.

— Blanchot, The Space of Literature (trans. A. Smock)

Giacometti quotes

 Life is only an abyss.

I no longer understand anything about life, about death, about anything.

Art is only a way of seeing. Whatever I may look at, everything is beyond me, everything surprises me. I don’t exactly know what I am seeing. It’s too complex.

It’s impossible to do a thing the way I see it because the closer I get the more differently I see it.

The human face is as strange to me as a countenance which, the more one looks at it, the more it closes itself off and escapes by the steps of unknown stairways.

I paint and sculpt to get a grip on reality… to protect myself.

The more I work the more I see things differently, that is, everything gains in grandeur every day, becomes more and more unknown, more and more beautiful. The closer I come, the grander it is, the more remote it is.

Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won’t know what it is until I succeed in doing it.

All I can do will only ever be a faint image of what I see and my success will always be less than my failure or perhaps equal to the failure.

It was always disappointing to see that what I could really master in terms of form boiled down to so little. 

Basically, I no longer work for anything but the sensation I have while working.

Only reality interests me now and I know I could spend the rest of my life copying a chair.

— Giacometti