… The discovery of this outerness, in circumstances of such tension and such utter strangeness, has, after all, very little to do with the preferences-by-protocol of those who claim to like art, or with their insufferable congresses of cultural juries whose second nature it is to follow the prudent skepticism that has traditionally characterized a “sensible” way of life.
This is from a ‘Letter to Pierre Matisse’ written by Alberto Giacometti (1947):
… Figures were never for me a compact mass but like a transparent construction.
Again, after making all kinds of attempts, I made cages with open construction inside …
… (During all the preceding years — the period of the academy — there had been for me a disagreeable contrast between life and work, one got in the way of the other. I could find no solution. The fact of wanting to copy a body at set hours and a body to which otherwise I was indifferent, seemed to me an activity that was basically false, stupid, and which made me waste many hours of my life.)
It was no longer a question of reproducing a lifelike figure but of living, and of executing only what had affected me, or what I really wanted. But all this alternated, contradicted itself, and continued by contrast. There was also a need to find a solution between things that were rounded and calm, and sharp and violent.
Alberto Giacometti, Place (Platz), 1948
The following is from ‘A new Beyond’ by Michel Tapié (1952):
… Today, art must stupefy to be art. At a time when, for the best reason and the worst, everything is brought into play to explain art, to popularize and vulgarize it, to get us to swallow it down as a normal complement to our everyday living, the true creators know that the only way for them to express the inevitability of their message is through the extraordinary — paroxysm, magic, total ecstasy. That is why these pages will not discuss aesthetics or works depending on it alone, since today aesthetics is an excuse for nothing but vain pretension, a shabby alibi for the exercise of talents utterly lacking in necessity.
[ … ]
… this work [of an Individual] is, in the human scale of things, something so extraordinary, endowed with a magic so stupefying, so useless in the dreary framework of the everyday, and at the same time so irreducibly necessary to those who, from day to day, seek to live the parabola of our age, that man, coming into contact with it, must feel — to borrow Nietzsche’s image — the fabulous dizziness of the flying fish, which, after the tremendous struggle to change its atmosphere, discovers the outerness of the crests of the waves. The discovery of this outerness, in circumstances of such tension and such utter strangeness, has, after all, very little to do with the preferences-by-protocol of those who claim to like art, or with their insufferable congresses of cultural juries whose second nature it is to follow the prudent skepticism that has traditionally characterized a “sensible” way of life.
… For some time now we have been hearing the so-called right-thinking people say that this time we have gone so far beyond the limits that at last no one could possibly be fooled … , that until now one might just, strictly speaking, have agreed … , but that now … and all the rest. Unfortunately for them, now a new era is beginning, with sensibilities both free and pure enough to walk into it confidently, and heedless of any way out.