I recently worked on the second series of a BBC children’s art programme. I came late to the project to mostly help organise the designers who were already in situ and to ensure all of their work was ready for the studio records. I was also asked to look at a couple of makes that weren’t working as well as hoped and to use my experience to make them better. One such make were some sculptures inspired by Alberto Giacometti.
Giacometti was a Swiss painter, draughtsman and sculptor who is best known for his elongated surrealist sculpted forms. Giacometti worked in clay and then cast in bronze, but I was asked to make the sculptures with pipe cleansers, masking tape and paint. The main issue with the figures was ensuring they stayed upright, whilst still retaining the fragile nature of Giacometti’s own work. Giacometti was obsessed with creating his sculptures exactly as he envisioned through his unique view of reality, he often carved until they were as thin as nails and reduced to the size of a hand.
To ensure some solidity in the sculptures I needed to construct a skeleton from pipe cleaners and use plasticine on the feet to ensure they stayed rooted.
Once the pipe cleaner skeleton was attached to the cardboard base, it was time to start wrapping the figure in masking tape .. lots and lots of masking tape. I used 19mm masking tape as it was easier to wrap around the pipe cleaners than the usual 25mm tape.
As the figure I was creating was to be a musician the next thing to cut and cover in masking tape was a guitar. I made the guitar separately from the figure so that the hands would retain their definition and not feel like the guitar was part of the body. Now finally to paint the figure. As Giacometti worked in bronze I used Reeves Acrylic Bronze and added a small amount of black to get an aged feel.
One Giacometti inspired guitarist … and as they say in TV “you could also try making these alternative versions”
Find out more about Alberto Giacometti’s work at the Foundation Alberto at Annette Giacometti website.