Femme, épaule cassée (Woman with broken shoulder), 1958/59

Not only is her shoulder broken (as is pointed out explicitly by the title) – but the female figure makes an abused and vulnerable impression. Standing on thin legs, she stretches upward in slender fragility, fleshless, her surface cracked and scabby. The double-stepped plinth provides ample stability and secures the figure. The Swiss sculptor’s intention remained the same throughout his career: to locate the threatened body – even in its reduction – in overwhelming space.

The emaciated figures take on a strange presence through the almost violent decimation of their bodily mass. Without indication of their origins, or often even of their gender, they persevere in timeless universality. It was not by chance that the French philosopher and existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre considered the sculptures by his contemporary to be the embodiment of his philosophy.

© Alberto Giacometti

69.5 × 19.5 × 28.5 cm
Inv. No. SGP 216

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