The California artist has conceived an entirely original project for the Prada Foundation, titled The Giacometti Variations. It consists of a series of huge figures 15 feet tall, inspired by the imagination of the Swiss sculptor, which will be clothed and outfitted with garments and objects designed by Baldessari himself, thus forming a hypothetical, though immobile, fashion show. It captures an idea of integration and dialogue between art and fashion, where the osmosis between model and sculpted figure becomes a declaration of mutual attraction and communication.
The artist himself describes the logic of the project as follows:
“I’ve always wanted to do tall paintings and sculptures. I suspect it’s because I am quite tall. I’ve had little opportunity since most galleries have wall heights that mirror the wall heights of collector’s homes. A few years ago, I was invited to show in Haus Der Kunst, Munich. Since the entrance hall is extremely tall, I began thinking about tall work I could do there to capture the space. One of my ideas was the idea that I have proposed to the Prada Foundation. My plan is to elongate standing Giacometti sculptures and clothe them with garments. To extend an extreme existing idea to its logical conclusion has been a working method for me. Giacometti figures are the most skinny and emaciated sculpture that exist. Why not push that further’ Also there currently is a blurring of art and fashion. Furthermore it is au courant, almost de rigueur that fashion models be extremely tall and thin. Why not fuse the two - art and fashion - since that idea is in our zeitgeist’ I’m sure I was also inspired by the Degas Ballerina sculptures clothed with real tutus. The finished work would be the row of columns (at the foundation building) alternating with clothed attenuated pseudo Giacometti figures. Is this parody’ I’m not sure. I hate categories and definitions - I certainly am borrowing. Isn’t this what artists do’ Doesn’t art arise from art’ What I am doing is furthering an idea - that is the requirement of any good art.’
John Baldessari, December ‘09