Alberto Giacometti's attenuated figures of the human form are among the most significant artistic images of the 20th century. Sartre, Breton, and Winnicott are just some of the great thinkers who have drawn upon the graceful, harrowing work of Giacometti, which has continued to resonate with artists, writers, and audiences. In this book, Timothy Mathews explores the themes of fragility, trauma, space, and relationality in Giacometti's art and the texts that respond or refer to them: the novels of W.G. Sebald, Samuel Beckett and Cees Nooteboom, and the theories of Bertolt Brecht, which recasts the iconic L'Homme qui marche as Walter Benjamin's Angel of History. During his lifelong quest to represent the human form, and to locate the humanity at the heart of conflicting conceptions of modernity, Giacometti returned to the key notions of depth and flatness, memory and attachment, through his sculptures and writings. Both a critical study of Giacometti's life and work, and an investigation of their affective power, this book asks what encounters with Giacometti's pieces can tell us about the history of our own time, and our ways of looking; about the nature of human attachment, and the humility of relating to art.
The Art of Relation