Alberto Giacometti, Yves Klein: In Search of the Absolute

Art Free
4 out of 5 stars
 (Alberto Giacometti: 'La Clairière', 1950. © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016)
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Alberto Giacometti: 'La Clairière', 1950. © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016
 (Yves Klein: 'Anthropométrie sans titre (ANT 89)', 1961. © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London)
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Yves Klein: 'Anthropométrie sans titre (ANT 89)', 1961. © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London
 (Alberto Giacometti: '[Annette debout]', c1954. © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016 )
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Alberto Giacometti: '[Annette debout]', c1954. © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016
 (Yves Klein: 'Peinture de feu sans titre (F 80)', 1961. © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London )
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Yves Klein: 'Peinture de feu sans titre (F 80)', 1961. © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Contrasting shades of modernism by a pair of true radicals.

The chance to see these two giants of modern art side by side should be enough to make any art lover wet themselves. But full disclosure: I absolutely hate Alberto Giacometti. Something about his elongated, rough, haunted, skinny humans just makes my brain go ‘Nah, this is a bit shit’. Klein, on the other hand, now he’s good. So if this show can somehow turn my Giacometti hatred around, then we’ll be on to a winner.

The two artists lived just a mile apart in Montparnasse, creating art in a Paris that was still coming to terms with the end of WWII. In their own ways, each was a true radical: Giacometti a genius of figurative sculpture, Klein a man who invented colours (his famed International Klein Blue) and upset the art world with his monochromes and exhibitions of nothing.

Works from Klein’s ‘Anthropometry’ series fill the first room and are the result of the Frenchman dousing nude female models in his signature blue and pressing, pulling and dragging them across a canvas. The really great works here are full of movement and long, otherworldly (and very Giacometti-like) forms. They feel like they’re leaping, swimming and writhing, and they’re stunning.

They work perfectly in relation to Giacometti’s sculptures. His forms are equally squished and manipulated, their lumps and bumps twisted, flattened and exaggerated. The difference is that Giacometti used art to find new ways of looking at the body, while Klein used the body to find new approaches to art.

There’s a kinship in brutality between the two artists: an uncompromising approach to art and the body. Objectively, both are stunning artists who created timeless, beautiful, important art. Even if you hate Giacometti, like I still do, it’s a must-see. 

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