Giacometti, Wittgenstein, Borges

Extracts from Silence in Philosophy, Literature, and Art

Steven Bindeman

Giacometti clearly worked through subtractive arts,

“The motive that makes one work is surely to give a certain permanence to what is fleeting… If I could actually make a head as it is, that would mean one can dominate reality. It would mean total knowledge, life would stop. Its curious that I can’t manage to make what I see. To do that, one would have to die of it”. (Lord, A Giacometti portrait, passim) page 93

Through the style of his art, Giacometti was able to convey the frustration that every artist faces, of being unable to capture what is fleeting. In this way Giacometti’s works expose the limits of artistic creation, just as Wittgenstein’s work exposed the limits of language. Knowing when to stop is therefore the key, for this enables what is transcendent, that which cannot be said, to be shown. As a consequence of this action, something is beautiful shines forth, through silence. page 96

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 14.18.25Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 14.18.47

^Borges perceives language as a cage because it is an imperfect medium where every attempt to depict the universe with words must be fragmentary and artificial…Silence also can be seen as the cardinal poetic principle of Borges’s aesthetics, since in every one of his texts that deals with language he presents a process of abstracting language from its mundane features (which serve to locate its object in space and time) to the point where the object dematerialises into silence. While language is recognised as an imperfect medium because every attempt to depict its objective in words must be fragmentary and artificial, silence in contrast operates as a kind of perfect language which surpasses every concrete language, and it becomes the goal of Borges’s work to reach it.

8fc4714f6beaad1eb20343d06f313472.jpgGiacometti, Cube, 1933


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