Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

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There was a third element in reality that concerned me: movement.

Despite all my efforts, it was impossible for me then to endure a sculpture that gave an illusion of movement, a leg advancing, a raised arm, a head looking sideways. I could only create such movement if it was real and actual, I also wanted to give the sensation of motion that could be induced.

Several objects which move in relation to one another.

But all this took me away little by little from external reality; I had a tendency to become absorbed only in the construction of the objects themselves.

There was something in these objects that was too precious, too classical; and I was disturbed by reality, which seemed to me to be different. Everything at that moment seemed a little grotesque, without value, to be thrown away.

This is being said too briefly.

Objects without pedestals and without value, to be thrown away.

From Letter to Pierre Matisse, 1947, in Alberto Giacometti, translated with an introduction by Peter Selz (The Museum of Modern Art, New York) 1965

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September.

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