Reflections on the Statuettes, Figures and Paintings of Alberto Giacometti – Ponge

Man … the human person … the free individual … the I … at once torturer and victim … at once hunter and prey . . .

Man – and man alone – reduced to a thread – in the dilapidation, and misery of the world – who searches for himself – starting from nothing.

Exhausted, thin, emaciated, naked. Aimlessly wandering in the crowd.

Man anxious about man, in terror of man. Asserting himself one last time in a hieratic attitude of supreme elegance. The pathos of extreme emaciation, the individual reduced to a thread.

Man at the stake of his contradictions. No longer crucified. Burned. You are right, dear friend.

Man on a pavement like burning iron; who cannot lift his heavy feet.

Oh! Since Greek sculpture, what am I saying, since Laurens and Maillol, man has been well burned at the stake!

It is doubtless true that since Nietzsche and Baudelaire the of values has accelerated . . .

They drip around him, his values, his fat; to feed the flames!

It is not only that Man has nothing more; but he is nothing more, than this I.


Originally published in Cahiers d’Art, Paris, 1951.

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