The Couple, 1927
Le couple

The sculpture testifies to Giacometti’s engagement with African tribal art. The formal syntax – front-on view, primary forms, symbols applied like tattoos – is subordinated to the concept of grounding the figures in their markers of sexuality while at the same time rendering them legible as bodies and faces.

In his ‘Lʼhistoire de lʼoeil’ the Surrealist Georges Bataille, in whose journal ‘Documents’ Michel Leiris penned the first ground-breaking article about Giacometti in 1929, drew a parallel between the eye and the vagina. This is precisely what Giacometti illustrates here: the man and woman can be read as faces, as bodies reduced to the sexual, and as sexual organs. Reality is translated into a system of symbols in which the eye dominates.

Material
Bronze
Dimensions
60.0 x 40.0 x 19.0 cm
Creditline
Kunsthaus Zürich, Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung, 1965
Object number
GS 005
Signature
Inscribed on plinth, back: A. Giacometti 1/6; left: Susse fondeur Paris
Further information
Ex. 1/6
Provenance
  • Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft | Kunsthaus Zürich (Museum), frühestens ab 1965, Leihgabe
  • Alberto Giacometti-Stiftung (Sammlung), Zürich, frühestens ab 1965, Übernahme
  • Alberto Giacometti-Syndikat, 1963, Kauf
  • Galerie Beyeler, Basel, 1963, Kauf
  • Sammlung G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh, 1955, Kauf
  • Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
  • Alberto Giacometti