When Shadows Speak: The Intriguing Convergence of Giacometti and Sugimoto in Paris

Written by: Nauradika Of London



Time to read 2 min

When the veil between the tangible and the ethereal thins, art finds a way to speak volumes about the unseen. Such is the premise of the intriguing exhibition "Giacometti / Sugimoto: Staged," hosted at the Institut Giacometti in Paris from April 5 to June 23, 2024. This exhibition is not just a showcase but a dialogue—a mysterious conversation between the works of Alberto Giacometti and Hiroshi Sugimoto, underpinned by the evocative themes of traditional Japanese Noh theater.

In 2013, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York provided a stage for this conversation to begin. Hiroshi Sugimoto, renowned for his photography that blurs the lines between time and eternity, was invited to capture Giacometti's sculptures in the museum's garden. Among these, the "Tall Woman" stood out, photographed in the revealing light of day and the ambiguous shadows of dusk. These images, steeped in duality, echoed the supernatural encounters of the living and the dead characteristic of Noh theater, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of reality and apparition.

The exhibition "Giacometti / Sugimoto: Staged" takes this exploration further, weaving together a narrative that draws from the past to speak to the present. It is structured around the recreation of a Noh play scene, inviting attendees into a space where time, form, and essence intersect. Giacometti's sculptures, known for their haunting, elongated forms, find a new context amidst Sugimoto's photographs, which capture not just images but moments suspended between change and permanence. The inclusion of ancient Noh masks from Sugimoto's personal collection adds layers of history and spirituality, enriching the conversation between the artists.

What binds Giacometti and Sugimoto is not just their art but their quest to capture the intangible. Giacometti's sculptures reach out from the void, striving to grasp the essence of human existence, while Sugimoto's photographs are meditations on time, memory, and the fleeting nature of life. This exhibition highlights their mutual fascination with the point where reality meets the supernatural, a theme deeply rooted in Noh theater, where stories transcend the boundaries of life and death.

The importance of this exhibition extends beyond its visual impact. It offers a unique perspective on how different art forms can intersect to create new meanings and understandings. According to the Fondation Giacometti, the exhibition not only showcases the works of two influential artists but also invites us to reflect on the nature of our reality and the ways in which art can alter our perception of it .

As visitors walk through the exhibit, they are encouraged to consider the roles of observer and participant, of living and spectral entities, in the art that surrounds them. This immersive experience is a testament to the power of art to bridge worlds, to communicate across cultures and epochs, and to reveal the universal threads that connect us to each other and to the mysteries that lie beyond our understanding.

In a world where the tangible often overshadows the mysteries of the unseen, "Giacometti / Sugimoto: Staged" serves as a reminder of the depth and complexity of human perception and the endless possibilities that arise when we allow different worlds to collide and converse. It is an invitation to pause, reflect, and see beyond the surface, into the depths where shadows speak.

As we anticipate the reverberations of this unique encounter between Giacometti and Sugimoto, let us embrace the opportunity to explore the liminal spaces they highlight—the thin lines between light and shadow, presence and absence, the tangible and the ethereal. This exhibition is not just a visual feast but a philosophical inquiry, asking us to reconsider our perceptions of reality and the power of art to transform it.

For those who wish to explore this mesmerizing intersection of art, history, and spirituality, "Giacometti / Sugimoto: Staged" promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of creativity and the endless dialogue between the seen and the unseen.