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Spatial Concept of Alberto Giacometti's composition with figures -In relation City Square (1948)

  • Journal of History of Modern Art
  • 2003, (15), pp.33-56
  • Publisher : 현대미술사학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Art > Arts in general > Art History
  • Received : November 30, 2003
  • Accepted : December 31, 2003
  • Published : December 31, 2003

Jaeeun Lee 1

1가천대학교

ABSTRACT

This study examines Giacometti's spatial concept through 〈City Square〉(1948). In the mid'30s, Giacometti turned from a member of a Surrealist circle to a realism of his own definition. The change originated in his interests of the act of perception and how we see people across space. Therefore he had to express space surrounding figure. To do this, he made sculpture thin as a stick. To figure out really the shape of his sculpture, we ought not to miss his spatial conception. In this arguing point, this is divided into two branches which are a pictorial space and a space as situation. This is a stylistic aspect and that is what Giacometti want to say from his own work. Until 1947, Giacometti didn't arrive at thin figures, standing and full length. From 1937 to 45 every figure he made ended up an inch high more or less. For this period he used a big pedestal. It creates a perspective effect. But the scale revolted him. In order to put this matter, he needed a breakthrough towards a new way of seeing. It is not until he was watching a film in a Montparnasse cinema that he realized in real life how we see people across space. Later then, most of his sculptures after 1947 are of thin figures, standing and full length; women always hold their arms close to their bodies and stand still, while men are modelled in open stride. Here, the most important factor that affects a human figure is space between a sculptor and model. The space of Giacometti's sculpture is not a part of space occupied by the viewer but that by sculptor. The result was to bring sculpture closer to painting which always creates its own space. Therfore we can refer to it as 'pictorial space'. This long slender figures with broken surface clearly bears no relation to real volume of a human body. The shape is a suggestion of mass dissolving into space. Composition with figures such as 〈City square〉 creates another space. In this, figures are situated in Giacometti's own world. The world is what he saw or he experienced in City. He gived a pedestal standing slender figures a scenery. Their life is in city. Here 'standing woman' and 'man walking' are counterparts. While the frontal female figures could only be taken to extremes, 'walking man' allowed numerous variations, because his movements seemed to require that space around him be defined. In a note on 〈Man Walking in the rain〉, he remarked that he was this figure. Therefore four men, here, are his variations. For him, encounters between people were an essential part of his existence. From his Surrealist work, however, his figures failed encounters. It is city's life that he saw or experience. His 〈City square〉 exists only loneliness. No one overcome distance between people and people or artist and sitter in a series of his work. As the result to have studied like this, it can be said that every figures Giacometti made after 1935 did not start from a being of sitter but from an changeable figure's appearance across distance between sculptor and model. The space of his sculptures is based on his own personal experience.

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