Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55

For me, the work of Giacometti makes our universe even harder to bear, such is his ability to sweep away what hampers his vision and to reveal what will remain of man when he is stripped of appearances. And perhaps, too, Giacometti needed those inhuman conditions that are imposed on us to make his nostalgia grow so intense, so that it gave him the strength to succeed in his quest.

Whatever the case, I feel that his life's work is that quest, a quest that bears not only on man but on the most banal of objects. And when he has succeeded in stripping his chosen object or being of its utilitarian appearances, the image he gives us of it is magnificent. A deserved recompense, yet a predictable one.

From Alberto Giacometti's Studio by Jean Genet, first published by Editions Barbezat, 1958; trans 1991 Charles Penwarden.

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

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