November is all about Surreal

First thing back in Paris this early wintry afternoon, a shivery stroll to Centre Pompidou where the Surrealists are holding sway.  Not my cup of dormouse.  But an open mind and need for warmth converge.

News to me (though not to many of you) is, that Alberto Giacometti was part of the Movement (with Andre Breton and his amazing cohort) for some years, before he had to split… it seems because he felt there was something disingenuous for him in what he had been doing, and a very different vision was calling.

Giacometti’s Surrealist work (which I prowled around before managing to decipher who the artist was, thanks to very narrow spot-lighting) stood out from much of the rest as fascinating, so comprehending and explaining of form, of form’s abstract, emotional impact.  Also playful in a dark, even brutal, way.   Among these was a series called ‘Disagreeable Objects.’  (Dark/playful was apparently a hallowed goal of Surrealists. But most other artists featured in this comprehensive exhibit ended up in the cul-de-sac of extreme gross-out, while Giacometti apparently couldn’t help himself from creating elegant, restrained, suggestive objects through abstraction.)

These were smallish table-top pieces not at all predictive of the ‘trademark’ attenuated human striding figures he would turn to next.  Most of the work is not cast, but made in polished wood, some in rough stone, embellished with string and glass and wire.  Here: Objet desagreable a jeter, and Femme, dormante, qui reve.




  1. Margot Livesey · · Reply

    Thank you so much for broadening my horizons about Giacometti and much else.

  2. Jim Thomson · · Reply

    Very provocative. I had no idea Giacometti, whose string beans I love, had dabbled in these other forms. The first piece reminds me so much of Brancusi’s work.

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