Laurence Causse-Parsley

A Giacometti’s quote for January

David Sylvester’s interview of Alberto Giacometti in the Guardian: ” That’s probably part of it, anyway, but there’s also something else. If I copy the surface of a head exactly in a sculpture, what’s inside? Nothing but a great mass of dead clay. In the living head, the inside is just as organic as the surface, right? So, a head that seems real, say a head by Houdon, is like a bridge, a bridge with a surface that resembles a head; but you have the feeling that the inside is empty if it’s made out of clay. If it’s made out of stone, you feel that it’s a mass of stone. And already, there’s something false, whether it’s empty or a mass of stone, because there’s no resemblance, because in your skull there’s not a millimetre that’s not organic.

So, in a sense, in the narrow heads there’s just enough clay for them to stand up and nothing more. The inside is something absolutely necessary. Necessarily, there’s more resemblance with a living head than one that’s just a copy of the exterior. And I think this is the reason why it might be possible to do a painting that resembles a head and less possible, or not possible, to do a sculpture.

This afternoon at the British Museum, looking at the Greeks, I found nothing but enormous rocks, enormous dead rocks. When I look at a person looking at them, the person who looks doesn’t have any thickness, he’s almost transparent. And very light. You can see that the weight of the mass is false. When someone is alive, even if he’s very fat, he holds himself very lightly. So, if I make life-sized figures that become very thin, there must be a motive: one reason is that, for them to be true, they have to be light enough for me to take them with one hand and put them in a taxi beside me.”