Gagosian London to Stage First-Ever Exhibition Pairing Key Works by Alberto Giacometti and Yves Klein

You know their differences, but what about their similarities?

Alberto Giacometti, Anne e debout] (1954).(left) and Yves Klein, Anthropométrie sans titre (ANT 89) (1961).
Photo: © Alberto Giacome Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016 and © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London.

On April 27, Gagosian London will launch a historical exhibition which will pair key works by Alberto Giacometti and Yves Klein for the first time ever.

The show, titled “In Search of the Absolute: Alberto Giacometti and Yves Klein” has been curated by the art historian and director of the Hunter College Galleries Joachim Pissarro.

The exhibition borrows its title from an essay on Giacometti by Jean-Paul Sartre, in which the existentialist philosopher described the artist’s sculptural figures as “always mediating between nothingness and being” and stated that Giacometti was “forever beginning anew.”

Alberto Giacometti painting Annette's portrait in the studio Photo: © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016

Alberto Giacometti painting a portrait in his studio.
Photo: © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016.

Though Giacometti and Klein were working within a mile of each other in Paris in the 1950s and early 1960s, few immediate connections can be made between the withering bodily forms of Giacometti’s sculptures and the bold, blue presence of Klein’s works.

In fact, except for a shared interest of the use of the human body as subject matter, found both in Giacometti’s sculptures and in Klein’s Anthropometries, there is little visual association to be made between the works of the two artists at all.

Yves Klein realizing an Anthropome Photo: © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London

Yves Klein realizing an Anthropometry.
Photo: © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris/DACS, London.

Where Klein and Giacometti do overlap, however, is in the origins of their work. Though the artists are from different generations (with Giacometti being born in 1901, and Klein in 1928), both worked with a constant consciousness of the calamitous effect of the Second World War on Europe’s people and culture.

“In Search of the Absolute” will put their oeuvres in conversation, so viewers will be able to recognize not only the differences in their artistic approaches, but also the underlying kinship in their situation.

<i>Annette debout</i>, 1954, Bronze and <i>Femme de Venise VIII </i>, 1956, Bronze Photo: © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016

Alberto Giacometti, Annette debout (1954) and Femme de Venise VIII (1956).
Photo: © Alberto Giacometti Estate /Licensed in the UK by ACS and DACS, 2016.

As Pissarro explains in a statement: “Both artists, rather than creating something that reflected the chaos, chose to rise above it, transforming and deciphering it into elegant, lyrical matter.”

More than 25 works from each Giacometti and Klein will be featured in the exhibition, on loan from the Fondation Alberto Giacometti, the Beyeler Foundation, and several private collections.

Alberto Giacometti and Yves Klein: In Search of the Absolute” will be on view at Gagosian London, from April 27-June 11, 2016.

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