Jean-Paul Sartre said that Giacometti's figures often become “so fully real that they can be as positive and unforgettable as a physical blow”. Bruce Nauman once remarked that he wanted to make art that affects people “like getting hit in the face with a baseball bat. or better, like getting hit in the back of the neck”. As everyone surely knows, a blow with a fist or to the neck is most effective when it is unexpected, when it comes out of nowhere, so to speak. And thus we have the shared background of an all-encompassing “void” to thank for the fact that both Alberto Giacometti and Bruce nauman succeed in much the same way in knocking us — surely and permanently — off balance with their works.
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