Didem Doğan

Giacometti exhibition in São Paulo's Pinacoteca

Pinacoteca is in São Paulo’s Luz area in the old town, next to República; it stands just across the train station with its red coloured bricks. It’s relatively a ‘historical’ building in this new country, as its history goes back to the beginning of the 20th century. Just next to it there’s a nice big garden. The museum possesses a big collection of the Brazilian art, like this one in the picture, of Almeida Júnior, the painting of a guitar player and a woman next to the window. 

I saw Giacometti’s temporary exhibition here, and his work will be coming later to the Pera Museum in Istanbul. When I saw his sculptures for the first time I thought they seemed like the first humans raised from the earth, similar to the creation stories in our culture. After the exhibition in Istanbul I was more curious and read French writer André Gide’s book on him, ‘Giacometti’s Studio’, in which he was almost ‘reading’ the sculptures. He spent years in sculptor’s little studio in the 14th arrondissement in Paris. Quoting a part from the book, he says “These sculptures make an impression on me as if they are familiar, and they are walking on the street. However, they are at the origin of the time; they stand where everything is just about to start; they do not move, they stand heroic and monumental; they constantly go forth and back.” The origin of time sounds universal, and it explains why we got the same impression on his art work. When he’s talking about Giacometti, he says “He really knows how to get rid of everything that conceals what is left from a human being… To me, it seems that Giacometti’s art tries to find the hidden wound of every human being, every thing…” Look at the famous photographer Bresson’s portrait photo of Giacometti, where he looks like he became one of the sculptures he made or, one thinks, he spends his whole life to eventually become one of those sculptures; they look so much alike, and he walks just as if he’s one of them. Just I was thinking this, I went back to reading Gide’s book and he says that “maybe because of empathy, Giacometti’s colour turned into dust by time”… The same book quotes Giacometti’s own words this time, and he says “one day, in my room, I was looking at the towel on the chair, that moment I thought, each object is not alone itself; it also has a weight, or in other words, it lacks a weight so that it does not fall on other objects. The towel was alone, so alone that, even if I moved the chair it wouldn’t move. It had a certain silence, a certain weightlessness. How light the world was, how light…” He truly could see, I think…

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