Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55: Every day during this exhibition at the Tate Gallery, the Independent is running a short extract from letters, reportage and diaries of the period

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His statues seem to belong to a defunct age, to have been discovered after time and night - which worked on them with intelligence - have corroded them, giving them that appearance, at once soft and hard, of eternity passing. Or, rather, they have come out of an oven, the residue from some terrible cooking: when the flames were extinguished, that was what remained.

But what flames]

Giacometti says he once thought of modelling a statue and then burying it. ('May the earth rest lightly on it' comes immediately to mind.) Not so that it would be discovered, or only much later, when he had disappeared along with even the memory of his name.

Did burying it mean offering it to the dead?

From Alberto Giacometti's Studio, by Jean Genet. First published 1958 by Editions Barbezat, Decine. Trans: Charles Penwarden.

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

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