les presses du réel

Œuvres contemporaines, 1964-1966

Daniel Buren
(excerpt, p. 7)

This exhibition resulted from a meeting and an initiative originated by Véronique Wiesinger.
Rather than immediately turn down the proposition, which for me is an astonishing one in more ways than one, given the yawning gulf between Giacometti's work and my own, I decided to delay my response until I had given it more thought.
My analysis led me to make a very singular proposition which Véronique Wiesinger accepted.
Given that, as far as I can see, there is no aesthetic or ethical reason for juxtaposing our two bodies of work, what other elements might emerge from within such obvious differences?
Quite unexpectedly, I realised that we could be connected by one pivotal moment.
For just as my work was seriously getting going, Giacometti's was approaching its abrupt end.
This pivotal moment is 1964–66 (Giacometti died in January 1966).
We thus had, simultaneously, a beginning and an end.
A confirmed body of work and one still seeking its identity.
Pieces that were already extremely well-known at the time and others that are still little-known forty-five years later.
To exhibit them together, on the basis of a shared moment, and only that, helps avoid writing a piece of comparative aesthetic history (which would be ridiculous, anyway) or emphasising what makes them unalike and different (which would be no less ridiculous).
However, I do think that history very often ignores its strange cohabitations in time and space, the overlapping of different if not opposing concerns.
The reason why it obliterates this reality is not the subject here.
Multiplicity, contradiction and cacophony within a given period, and in all periods.
Accidental encounters, therefore, but within a concordance of time frames.
If one can speak of a dialogue between two crashing trains, then that's the dialogue you have in this exhibition.

Daniel Buren, Alberto Giacometti: other titles

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