Alberto Giacometti: Sculpture Artist

Alberto Giacometti (Italian October 10, 1901 – January 11, 1966) was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Alberto Giacometti was born in the canton Graubünden’s southerly alpine valley Val Bregaglia and came from an artistic background; his father, Giovanni, was a well-known post-Impressionist painter.

Giacometti was a key player in the Surrealist art movement, but his work resists easy categorization. Some describe it as formalist, others argue it is expressionist or otherwise having to do with what Deleuze calls ‘blocs of sensation’ (as in Deleuze’s analysis of Francis Bacon). Even after his excommunication from the Surrealist group, while the intention of his sculpting was usually imitation, the end products were an expression of his emotional response to the subject. He attempted to create renditions of his models the way he saw them, and the way he thought they ought to be seen. He once said that he was sculpting not the human figure but “the shadow that is cast.”

Scholar William Barrett in Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy (1962), argues that the attenuated forms of Giacometti’s figures reflect the view of 20th century modernism and existentialism that modern life is increasingly empty and devoid of meaning. “All the sculptures of today, like those of the past, will end one day in pieces… So it is important to fashion ones work carefully in its smallest recess and charge every particle of matter with life.”




Leave a Reply