The silence, I’m alone here, outside there’s the night, everything is still and sleep is starting to return. I don’t know who I am nor what I’m doing nor what I want, I don’t know if I’m old or young, maybe I’ve got hundreds of thousands of years to live, my past is disappearing into a grey abyss…

Alberto Giacometti, ‘Paris Sans Fin’

giacometti’s set of lithographs ‘paris sans fin’ have power, and vision. the words which accompany them, written by giacometti, are in french and i suspect they lose something with translation. i do not know if the above quote accurately represents giacometti. the drawings evince an artist enthralled by the world around him – struggling to understand it; and struggling as though there can be nothing in himself (or of himself?) which cannot be mirrored outside–march-13-2014

after all we are all made of that same stuff. everything is made of this same stuff – then as well as now.

that being the strength of the drive to develop the drawings – the strength of the need in the drive – here (at that time, and over the six years it took him to create the – maybe unfinished – series) his art is of a standard wherein he can achieve these feats. his understanding has reached a state enabling him to do what he did.

the words sit next to the drawings and function therein. perhaps.



pencil and pastel on paper, 230 x 110 mm, 2014
pencil and pastel on paper, 230 x 110 mm, 2014


isolate / not

What I like about Balthus is his naive side.’ Alberto observed. ‘I wouldn’t have said he was naive. I’d have said on the contrary that he’s very sophisticated.’ ‘It’s the same thing.’ Alberto said flatly.

A Giacometti Portrait. James Lord.

giacometti’s studio, i’d have loved to have visited. how he refers back to his work, isolated they cannot match the deep profundity they possess as he knocks them out, and he’s constantly scrutinising them.

building his own globe, his own stage


watercolour on paper, a3, 2012

general not specific

The gesture was general not specific.

James Lord in ‘A Giacometti Portrait’, as Giacometti destroys some drawings.

pencil in sketchbook, a5, 2012


i’ve been reading the ‘genius of shakespeare’ by jonathon bate (in a simplified version of one of his conclusions) he argues that shakespeare functions so successfully because his work is full of contradictory (or apparently contradictory) ‘truths’. and that it is the performing of shakespeare’s words that gives these truths profundity, that the words need to be lived and can only come alive in action and experience. the performance need not be theatrical, the words have trickled through into the micro and the macro, becoming a part of our mundane performances.

i can see how this can be applied to cezanne (& giacometti) – detail, and the cosmic are conjured in one movement, looking becoming an act (in the context of a life times work)


It makes sense, right? The sovereign individual, responsible but free, legislates reality through a million momentary choices. It’s the essence of democracy, the Enlightenment, of America itself, very similar to the honest answer Nicolette Stanley gave about Shell and the Nigerian army: “Ultimately, I’m responsible for my own behavior.” And Zilnik, like Stanley, seems like a very decent person.

So why does the CO2 keep rising?

“I can only be responsible for myself,” Zilnik says.

Read more: 10th August 2012. Article by John H. Richardson. A beautiful analysis of  an environmental catastrophe in the making but also a great example of rationalisation.

i will put this into context. the affable, gentle, environmentally concerned individuals working to extract oil in canada can justify themselves by positioning themselves within the process. if one cannot see cause and effect then one cannot feel responsible, and the size of the operation is staggering – too much to take in, too much to rationalise – so the mind stops, relieved that it has done as much as it can do to justify a substantial pay check. in the background there is the supporting wall of rationality, the inescapable actuality that places all alternatives; and all opposition, in the world of the abstract and the immaterial.

the world: is as it is, and therefore the world economy is righteous in it’s actuality – in material fact, there is one economy and that is the system we must function within.

but the economy is not such an ‘actuality’ it is fantastical, and the annihilation of all modes of living which do not fit with the fantasy is the only way the fantasy can be maintained. otherwise it is not a system but a construction. and this is pursued through the manipulation of credit – the deification of a concept which can only be defined by a few…

pencil in sketchbook, a5, 2012

weightless ii



the weight in figures is created through tensions. with or without the space about. giacommetti and bacon would use frames to manage composition and spreading harmonies across the page or pulling them out of the centre,

(as examples)

according to needs.


am reading about architecture and peripheral vision. can visual ever be purely visual? can it exist in isolation?

can’t see how that could be possible…

You never copy the glass on the table; you copy the residue of a vision…. Each time I look at the glass, it has an air of remaking itself, that’s to say, its reality becomes uncertain, because its projection in my head is uncertain, or partial. One sees it as if it were disappearing, coming into view again, disappearing, coming into view again – that’s to say, it really always is between being and not being. And it’s this that one wants to copy.

Alberto Giacometti. [1964]

the better i understand giacometti, the more i draw from his work, learn of his methods & read his writing; the more i appreciate just how profound his vision was. it was his drawings that made me see what art could achieve and inspired me to wish to draw myself. he inspired in me an epiphany. i knew nothing of ‘art’, was tired of theory, procrastination, assumptions & inane speculation. after studying philosophy (but before i read wittgenstein) this is real philosophy.