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Kunsthaus Zürich

Mature work

By 1935 Giacometti had already turned away from the playfulness and fantastic elements of Surrealism; he wanted to capture the living presence of a human being as it is experienced in a personal encounter with another individual. For twelve years he searched for a solution; in 1947 he found it in the form of his weightlessly soaring thin figures. La cage is a wonderful exemplar of the principle of “phenomenological” realism: stand and cage represent human beings in their consciousness within which the bust as self-consciousness is inextricably bound up. The tiny statuette on the plinth reveals the content of consciousness to be that which is perceived by sight: it is only the viewer who brings the work to life through the act of viewing.

Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966)
La cage, 1950 (detail)
Bronze, painted, 178 x 39,5 x 38,5 cm
Alberto Giacometti Foundation, 1965
© Alberto Giacometti Estate / ProLitteris, Zürich
Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966)
La cage, 1950 (detail)
Bronze, painted, 178 x 39,5 x 38,5 cm
Alberto Giacometti Foundation, 1965
© Alberto Giacometti Estate / ProLitteris, Zürich