Alberto Giacometti and Fred Sandback

Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible

“Space doesn’t exist / it must be created but it does not exist… / Every sculpture made on the assumption that space exists is wrong, / space is nothing but an illusion”
—Alberto Giacometti (1949)

[My work is] present in pedestrian space, but is not so strong or elaborate that it obscures its context. It doesn’t take over a space, but rather coexists with it.
—Fred Sandback (1975)

David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition pairing the work of Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) and Fred Sandback (1943–2003) at the gallery’s Paris location. This exhibition, featuring Giacometti works from the William Louis-Dreyfus Family Collections, explores how Giacometti and Sandback found commonality in their use of space, line, verticality, and the implication of movement in their work. On view will be sculptures and works on paper by both artists, including Giacometti’s distinctive and psychologically resonant drawings of such subjects as people, still lifes, and interiors, which resonate visually and conceptually with Sandback’s vertical constructions—works that necessarily implicate the human body in their form. Sandback often cited Giacometti as a major influence, having first encountered the elder artist’s work in Paris—as he noted, “It certainly had to do with the way it anecdotally is described as a space eroded away or stripped down to its essential, if there is an essential core to it.” This will be the first exhibition to present these two important twentieth-century artists in dialogue.

« L’espace n'existe pas / il faut le créer mais il n’existe pas / non […]
Toute sculpture qui part de l’espace comme existant est fausse, / il n’y a que l’illusion de l’espace. »
(Alberto Giacometti, 1949)
 
« [Mon travail] existe dans l’espace public, mais il n’est pas puissant ou sophistiqué au point d’écraser absolument ce contexte. Il n’arraisonne pas l’espace mais coexiste avec lui. » 
(Fred Sandback, 1975)

David Zwirner a le plaisir d’exposer conjointement le travail d’Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) et celui de Fred Sandback (1943-2003) dans les espaces de sa galerie parisienne. Quoique les deux artistes emploient des registres artistiques différents, leurs œuvres se répondent et se croisent dans leur attention à l’espace, à la ligne, à la verticalité et à l’idée de mouvement qui s’y exprime. Seront présentées des sculptures et des œuvres sur papier de chacun des deux artistes : les dessins si caractéristiques d’Alberto Giacometti, représentant avec toute leur profondeur psychologique des personnes, des natures mortes et des intérieurs domestiques, font écho aux constructions éminemment verticales de Fred Sandback, qui mobilisent toujours dans leur forme un rapport au corps humain. Fred Sandback mentionnait souvent l’œuvre d’Alberto Giacometti parmi ses influences principales. Il avait pu découvrir le travail de son aîné lors de séjours parisiens et remarquait combien cette affinité « […] tient certainement au fait qu’on puisse décrire [son œuvre] plus ou moins superficiellement comme un espace qui se serait érodé de l’intérieur ou qui serait réduit à l’essentiel – s’il y existe quelque chose comme un noyau essentiel ». Cette exposition inédite représente la toute première occasion de mettre en dialogue ces deux figures incontournables de l’art du XXe siècle.

Dates
September 324, 2022
Opening Reception
Saturday, September 3, 6-8pm
Artist
Alberto Giacometti, Fred Sandback
Alberto Giacometti working on a bust of Yanaihara, Paris, 1960. Photo by Annette Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti working on a bust of Yanaihara, Paris, 1960. Photo by Annette Giacometti. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images

Alberto Giacometti working on a bust of Yanaihara, Paris, 1960. Photo by Annette Giacometti. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images

A photograph of Sandback working in his studio, dated 1990

Fred Sandback, n.d.

Fred Sandback, n.d.

“Giacometti was a major love affair.... Still very relevant to me personally, now.”

—Fred Sandback, 1997

An installation view from an exhibition titled Giacometti / Sandback, L'Objet invisible at David Zwirner Paris in 2022.

Installation view, Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible, David Zwirner, Paris, 2022

Installation view, Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible, David Zwirner, Paris, 2022

“The sharpness and thinness of Sandback’s lines make them as difficult to perceive as Giacometti’s figures, whose quivering edges makes them flutter or pulse. In the end, their works on paper might very well be the place where their practices come closest to each other: Fred Sandback’s lines thicken, duplicate, and tremble, while Alberto Giacometti’s figures are stripped bare of their last remaining details, crumbling and thinned down to the point of simple lines.”

 

Guitemie Maldonado, 2022

A drawing by Alberto Giacometti, titled Placard dans l'atelier avec bouteille, dated 1956.

Alberto Giacometti

Atelier de Diego Giacometti / Diego Giacometti's Studio, c. 1957
Graphite on paper
11 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches (28.6 x 21.6 cm)
Framed: 19 1/8 x 16 inches (48.6 x 40.6 cm)

“[Giacometti] was very stimulating to me... It certainly had to do with the way it anecdotally is described as a space eroded away or stripped down to its... essential core.”

—Fred Sandback, 2002

An untitled drawing by Fred Sandback, dated 1988.

Fred Sandback

Untitled, 1988
Pastel on coupon bond paper
17 1/8 x 22 1/8 inches (43.5 x 56.2 cm)
Framed: 20 1/2 x 24 inches (52.1 x 61 cm)

“Both artists chose different ways to express their formal and conceptual visions, but this should not prevent us from drawing lines that can intersect and connect both their oeuvres…. Yve-Alain Bois has shown how essential the floor or ground is to Sandback’s sculptures, stating that it is ‘Impossible to imagine any Sandback piece in a space that does not have a perfectly flat, uneventful floor.’... The question of bases or pedestals bear importance for Giacometti’s figures: an answer lies with their often massive feet that seem to be fused together in a kind of clog; they act as ballast or counterweight to the head, whose size, on the contrary, is reduced as it stretches and lengthens, fading away. The tension also comes from the ground.”

 

Guitemie Maldonado, 2022

On the left an installation view of the work titled Untitled (Seven-part Vertical Construction) by Fred Sandback, dated 1987; on the right we have a sculpture titled La Clairière by Alberto Giacometti, dated 1950

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Seven-part Vertical Construction), 1987 (left); Alberto Giacometti, La Forêt, 1950. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images (right)

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Seven-part Vertical Construction), 1987 (left); Alberto Giacometti, La Forêt, 1950. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images (right)

Left is Alberto Giacometti exhibition catalog cover, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, dated 1948; On the right is untitled work by Fred Sandback, circa 1975

Alberto Giacometti exhibition catalog cover, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1948 (left); Fred Sandback, Untitled, c. 1975. © 2012 Fred Sandback Archive

Alberto Giacometti exhibition catalog cover, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1948 (left); Fred Sandback, Untitled, c. 1975. © 2012 Fred Sandback Archive

“[Sandback’s] vertical pieces have the poise of Giacometti’s tall, thin figures, and the same hyper-awareness of the space surrounding them. Giacometti’s drawings are fretted with spidery lines that form maps of, and guides to, placement, so too his architectonic sculptures.”

—Lisa Liebmann

An untitled drawing by Fred Sandback, dated circa 1992.

Fred Sandback

Untitled, c. 1992
Pastel on vellum
9 3/8 x 12 inches (23.8 x 30.5 cm)
Framed: 14 1/4 x 16 3/4 inches (36.2 x 42.5 cm)
An installation view from an exhibition titled Giacometti / Sandback, L'Objet invisible at David Zwirner Paris in 2022.

Installation view, Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible, David Zwirner, Paris, 2022

Installation view, Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible, David Zwirner, Paris, 2022

A graphite on paper drawing by Alberto Giacometti, titled Flowers, dated 1952.

Alberto Giacometti

Bouquet dans un vase / Bouquet in a Vase, 1952
Graphite on paper
20 x 13 3/8 inches (50.8 x 34 cm)
Framed: 27 1/8 x 20 inches (68.9 x 50.8 cm)
Anonymous, Alberto Giacometti holding Three Men Walking I, dated 1948

Anonymous, Alberto Giacometti holding the bronze sculpture Three Men Walking at the end of the 1940s. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images

Anonymous, Alberto Giacometti holding the bronze sculpture Three Men Walking at the end of the 1940s. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images

A photo of Alberto Giacometti working in his atelier at Stampa, n.d.

Alberto Giacometti painting in his atelier at Stampa, n.d. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images

Alberto Giacometti painting in his atelier at Stampa, n.d. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images

“Figures were never for me a compact mass but like a transparent construction.”

—Alberto Giacometti

A drawing by Alberto Giacometti, titled Three Heads of Diego, undated.

Alberto Giacometti

Trois têtes / Three Heads, 1963-1965
Ballpoint pen on book page
6 3/4 x 4 inches (17.1 x 10.2 cm)
Framed: 12 5/8 x 19 1/2 inches (32.1 x 49.5 cm)
A drawing by Alberto Giacometti, titled Portrait of Paul Eluard, dated 1952.

Alberto Giacometti

Portrait de Paul Éluard / Portrait of Paul Éluard, 1952
Ink on paper
7 3/4 x 4 inches (19.7 x 10.2 cm)
Framed: 14 x 9 3/4 inches (35.6 x 24.8 cm)

These somewhat free-standing figures [by Giacometti] constitute an answer to the ‘desire to abolish the pedestal.’ They are nonetheless framed within a specific context, however open.... What is at stake here is chiefly the position, the place of the artworks. Fred Sandback would also carefully examine the spaces where he would place and stretch his threads, pondering at length their configuration. Keeping Giacometti’s The Walking Man in mind, this encourages us to understand Sandback’s notion of ‘pedestrian space’ in the literal sense, and maybe to run with it.

 

Guitemie Maldonado, 2022

On the left is a work titled La Rue V by Alberto Giacometti, on the right is Alberto Giacometti exhibition catalog page, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, dated 1950

Alberto Giacometti, La Rue V, 1959. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images (left); Alberto Giacometti exhibition catalog page, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1950 (right)

Alberto Giacometti, La Rue V, 1959. © Succession Alberto Giacometti / Adagp, Paris, 2022 - Cliché: Adagp images (left); Alberto Giacometti exhibition catalog page, Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1950 (right)

Installation view, Fred Sandback, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2011

Installation view, Fred Sandback, Instituto Moreira Salles and Centro Universitário Maria Antonia, Sao Paulo, 2010

Installation view, Fred Sandback, Instituto Moreira Salles and Centro Universitário Maria Antonia, Sao Paulo, 2010

“The line is a whole, an identity for a particular place and time.”

—Fred Sandback

A sculpture by Fred Sandback, titled Untitled (Broken Line, Vertical Wall Construction), dated 1994.

Fred Sandback

Untitled (Broken Line, Vertical Wall Construction), 1994
Acrylic paint on acrylic yarn
Height: 47 3/4 inches (121.3 cm)
A drawing by Fred Sandback, titled Untitled (Galerie Durand-Dessert, Paris), dated 1981.

Fred Sandback

Untitled (Galerie Durand-Dessert, Paris), 1981
Pastel and pencil on paper
22 3/8 x 30 1/8 inches (56.8 x 76.5 cm)
Framed: 33 1/8 x 40 1/2 (84.1 x 102.9 cm)
A drawing by Alberto Giacometti, titled Studies of Men, undated.

Alberto Giacometti

Têtes et griffonnages / Heads and Scribbles, 1959-1960
Ballpoint pen on book page
5 1/4 x 8 1/8 inches (13.3 x 20.6 cm)
Framed: 11 1/2 x 14 1/4 inches (29.2 x 36.2 cm)

“I left the model of such discrete sculptural volumes for.... thin lines that left enough room to move through and around. Still sculpture, though less dense, with an ambivalence between exterior and interior. A drawing that is habitable.”

—Fred Sandback, 1999

Fed Sandback, n.d. Photo by Thomas Cugini, Zurich.

Fed Sandback, n.d. Photo by Thomas Cugini, Zurich

Fed Sandback, n.d. Photo by Thomas Cugini, Zurich

“I want to catch the invisible white thread of the wonderful which vibrates in the void, and from which facts and dreams escape with the murmur of a brook running over small pebbles, alive and precious.”

 

—Alberto Giacometti

An installation view from an exhibition titled Giacometti / Sandback, L'Objet invisible at David Zwirner Paris in 2022.

Installation view, Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible, David Zwirner, Paris, 2022

Installation view, Giacometti / Sandback: L’Objet Invisible, David Zwirner, Paris, 2022

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          L’Objet Invisible

          Giacometti / Sandback

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