Currently, and until May 6, the exhibition Derain, Balthus, Giacometti. A Friendship Between Artists can be visited in Madrid, at Fundación MAPFRE. These three artists share models, art dealers, relationships and, above all, conversations in which they try to answer the questions their artistic concerns lay out. In this exhibition, we understand that an artist is not alone in his search for the world’s essence.
When the Swiss sculptor and painter (1901-1966) talks about his work, he says: “In the past I have never thought about loneliness when working, and I don’t think about it now. Yet there must be a reason for the fact that so many people talk about it; I, nevertheless, find it hard to say if this is true or false. But it is true that I don’t have the purpose of being a lonely artist, there’s not even a tendency to it. I must also add that, as an intellectual, a citizen, I think that life is the opposite of loneliness, because what matters is precisely the weaving of relationships with others. The society we live in, here in the west, imposes a condition on me, the one of searching in a somehow lonely way. It’s been hard for me to work, for so many years, making things that are not useful, things at the margin of society (but not at humanity’s margin, I hope). A lonely search is not, necessarily, tied to a poetic of loneliness.” An artist is never isolated, his search is the outcome of the sum of previous searches for the essence of the world, and he walks along his contemporaries’ search for this essence.
Art to Communicate with the World
Giacometti uses art as a way to answer his existential questions, as a way to communicate his concerns to the world with his own language. His answers vary and change throughout his life, but his subject matter is recurrent: the human figure, specifically the head. “Sculpting, painting and drawing have always been to me means to comprehend my own vision of the outside world, particularly of the face and human body. Or, to make it simpler, of my peers, mainly those that, for some reason or another, are closest to me. For me, reality has never been a pretext to create works of art, but art is a necessary mean for me to better realize what I see.” Giacometti speaks to us about his philosophical interests: perception, isolation and anxiety; he does it through his sculptures: long figures that look like they are about to disintegrate, but that remain standing, in a lonesome march, in a hostile environment, they seem to be crumbling; yet, they keep proudly upright, staying still even though they don’t seem to be able to lift their heavy feet. He also does this with his portraits, which always have an unfinished look, and which he repeats, re-draws, erases and paints again.
Art as Necessity
“I certainly practice painting and sculpting, and this, from the first time I ever drew or painted, to bite the reality, to defend myself, to feed myself, to grow; grow to attack better, to fight tooth and nail, to advance as much as possible on every level, in every direction, to defend myself from hunger, from the cold of death, to be as free as possible; as free as possible to try –with the means that are my own– to see better, to better comprehend what surrounds me, to better comprehend how to be free as much as possible, to grow as much as possible, to spend, to fully give myself to what I do, to embark on my adventure, to discover new worlds, to wage my war, for pleasure, for satisfaction, for the pleasure of winning and losing.” Giacometti possesses a purity that sets him aside from other artists, both in process and results. This purity can be felt when we watch one of his figures: they look alive, like if they had a heart, and they speak about dignity and the human condition that needs to assert its existence in a huge universe that seems inclined towards its own destruction.
Giacometti for Me
The workshop about Giacometti is going to be very special; you’ll be surprised! It will have some very interesting ingredients. I will tell you all about it in mid-month through my social networks.