At first glance, Giacometti and Klein, artists born a generation apart, could not be more different: Giacometti was a master of material form, and of the representation of the figure; Klein was an influential theorist whose art married the conceptual with the cosmic. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the two artists lived and worked within a mile of each other, in Montparnasse, Paris, but there are few clues in their work to suggest that they shared the same artistic milieu. What they did have in common was an acute consciousness of the catastrophic effects of the Second World War and its aftermath on European culture. Each dealt with it in his own way: in his sculptures, Giacometti struggled to evince a vital human presence from nothing; Klein shunned the personal, autobiographical mark, attempting to dematerialise painting to the point of pure saturated colour. Exhibition curator Joachim Pissarro remarks, “Both artists, rather than creating something that reflected the chaos, chose to rise above it, transforming and deciphering it into elegant, lyrical matter.”
In this speculative juxtaposition, “In Search of the Absolute” seeks to evoke the differences as well as the affinities between these two groundbreaking artists of the modern period, bringing new light to their aspirations and achievements.