It may strike some people as strange if I admit that I know very little about the artist himself and that I was never overly bothered to find out about him. In the same way that I can watch an actor’s films and never need to know who he is screwing, I can appreciate this man’s art and not need to know a single solitary fact about him.
A museum visit delivered him into my life and he is one of those artists that is present in all the books on great art, though I don’t think he is as popular as the artists most people can name off the top of their heads. Why? I think it might have something to do with the starkness of his vision — his sculptures and the images he creates are beautiful but they have a harshness to them that makes them less easy fare than the kind of art that ends up on student walls, in coffee table books in middle class houses. Or at least that is how I always perceived it. It may be different — he is probably considered fairly tame now by modern standards.
His art resonates — kicks out energy in the same way a Francis Bacon does, in the way Egon Schiele’s work does; it has a rawness. I like that vitality and I wouldn’t ever suggest that the pretty pictures people have on their walls are any less artistic than these more edgy examples, but they do have a different feel to them. These hit you in the head and the heart in a way that can sometimes make you take a step backwards — a gut punch to the sensibilities. Giacometti represents a real knowledge of form and technique — to be able to craft such profound artifacts in a way where it looks like it might have been made simply — where it seems a fluid flow from thought to execution … that is perhaps the hardest thing of all.