A new exhibition has been announced at the Gagosian* London gallery later this month, and it will be the first ever exhibition pairing works by Albert Giacometti and Yves Klein.
The show, In Search of the Absolute: Alberto Giacometti and Yves Klein, takes its title from an essay written about Giacometti by the legendary philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre. In the essay Sartre describes Giacometti’s surreal, sculptural figures as “always mediating between nothing and being” and that Giacometti was “forever being anew”.
Giacometti and Klein were born a generation apart (Giacometti in 1901 and Klein in 1928) but both lived and worked less than a mile apart in their studios in Montparnasse, Paris. And the exhibition is a little like this, though there are very evident differences between the two artists body of work, Yves conceptual blue oeuvre and Alberto’s mastery of form with his wilting figures; there is also cohesion.
Both Giacometti and Klein worked in the knowledge, and shadow, of the effects of the Second World War on Europe’s people and culture. As Joachim Pisarro, art historian and director of the Hunter College Galleries who’s curated the exhibition says: “Both artists, rather than creating something that reflected the chaos, chose to rise above it, transforming and deciphering it into elegant, lyrical matter.”
25 sculptures from Giacometti will be on display, including classics such as Femme de Venise I (1956), L’homme qui marche I (1960), Le Nez (1947); with an equal number of works by Klein, such as: Monochromes, Anthropometries, Fire Paintings, and a Sponge Sculpture.
It is in Klein’s Anthropometries – a painting created by a painted, naked female making impressions on the canvas – where Giacometti and Klein’s work almost converge, where their conversation in this gallery is in the same language; as they both represent the permanent transience of humanity, and the idea of a trace of a person.
Alberto Giacometti and Yves Klein: In Search of the Absolute will be on at Gagosian London, from 27 April until 11 June 2016.
*Larry Gagosian, owner of the Gagosian galleries, has recently been embroiled in legal battle with Maya Widmaier-Picasso, the daughter of Picasso and Marie-Therese Waler, who is the subject of the sculpture in dispute.
There’s a great write up of the exhibition by Gallery Girl, here.