Bringing together a distinguished set of sculptures for the first time since their creation in 1956, Tate Modern, London, offers a fresh perspective on the work of Alberto Giacometti (b. 1901). Renowned for his bronze formations, the Swiss artist also utilised a variety of materials such as clay, paint and plaster to fashion an elegant group of elongated human figures. As part of the gallery’s major retrospective, this restored series of plaster casts enlightens viewers to a distinctive career and the vast textural explorations which it encompassed.
Initially presented as part of the 1956 Venice Biennale, the six Women of Venice were originally moulded in clay, then cast in plaster and reworked with a knife to further enhance the surfaces. The process was completed over the course of about three weeks. More elastic than bronze, these materials allowed the sculptor to intricately craft the bodies to comply with an imaginative vision. Red and black paint was then added, making the pieces incredibly inventive and unique.
Largely based on three forms – the standing nude woman, the bust, and the walking man – the rugged and eroded sculptures resist classification, consequently vacillating between a variety of movements: surrealism, classicism, cubism and even the philosophical school of existentialism, to note a few. The figures in Women in Venice are modelled on his wife, Annette, demonstrating an intimate fascination with the human shape.
Giacometti’s legacy has had, and continues to have a phenomenal influence on the contemporary art world. With his oeuvre in constant demand, the large visionary sculptures continue to dominate international museums and galleries, and this upcoming exhibition is a demonstration of an artist whose works have become intertwined into contemporary culture. Courtesy of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Fiacometti, Tate Modern’s display showcases an impressive selection of highly acclaimed and lesser-known creations, including a collection of plaster statuaries, drawings and sketch books, as well as Medium Figure III, The Nose and Woman Leoni – works which have never before been displayed.
Curated by Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern and Catherine Grenier, Director, Chief Curator, Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris with Lena Fritsch, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern assisted by Mathilde Lecuyer, Associate Curator, Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti.
Alberto Giacometti, Tate Modern, London, 10 May – 10 October. Find out more: www.tate.org.uk
1. Alberto Giacometti, Suspended Ball (1930-1931). Plaster and metal. Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017.