To kick off the RUHR.2010 Cultural Capital Year, Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum
Center for International Sculpture, Duisburg will present a unique exhibition on the work of the sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). With the support of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti in Paris as Lehmbruck Museums academic and organizational partner, loans from international museums and private collectors will bring some 120 of the sculptors works together in Duisburg.
The almost life-sized sculpture entitled Woman with Chariot, which forms the focus of the exhibition, was made around 1945. It is the only plaster sculpture by Alberto Giacometti in a German museum, acquired by the Lehmbruck Museum with funds from Peter Klöckner Stiftung, and highlights the style and the way the sculptor worked in great detail. In comparison to the miniature-like and fragile plaster figures which Giacometti created as of 1930 through to 1945, it was to be the only large piece of work from this period of figurative reorientation when the sculptor was in Geneva and Maloja (1942-5).
The exhibition unites for the first time both of Giacomettis chariot sculptures and places them in the extensive complex of works in which they belong: For the first time, the large Chariot (1950) on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York stands opposite the Duisburg work. The motif of the chariot, which Giacometti introduced for the first time with Woman with Chariot, plays a crucial part in how the figure impacts and the importance it has had through the way it forges a dramatic tension between immobility and vitality, distance and proximity. Together with the other works on loan from inside and outside Germany, viewers will gain a comprehensive insight into the motif of the ceremonial chariot, and the sculptures are thus imbued with a mythical character in the cycle of triumph and death.
It is not the first time Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum Center for International Sculpture has showcased works by the Swiss sculptor as back in 1977 the Foundation held the very first retrospective of Giacometti in Germany. Dr. Gottlieb Leinz, Deputy Director of Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, and Véronique Wiesinger, Director of the Alberto et Annette Giacometti Foundation, Paris, curated the exhibition. The show is the result of years of intensive research that has given rise to new art-historical findings, following the identification of the woman on the chariot by Véronique Wiesinger as being Isabel Nicholas, English painter and Giacomettis muse.
In preparation for the exhibition, the Duisburg Woman with Chariot has undergone a number of radiological examinations by the French laboratory CIRAM, sponsored by the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti. The plaster figure is not only very fragile but conceals a hitherto unknown inner structure the artist made use of various different tool parts to stabilize the sculptures core.