A 1933 sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, The Palace at 4 a.m. relates to “a period of six months passed in the presence of a woman who, concentrating all life in herself, transported my every moment into a state of enchantment. We constructed a fantastical palace in the night—a very fragile palace of matches. At the least false movement a whole section would collapse. We always began it again.”
The surrealist work created with spindly wood scaffolding, sheets of glass and small skeletons, came thus from the relationship with a woman, named Denise. The haunting skeleton of a building is a stage set for isolated forms and figures, the position and identity of which he affirmed not to know much, apart from “the red object in front of the board; I identify it with myself.” As for the spinal column or the skeletal bird, they were probably associated with the woman.
Being a surrealist in this phase of his artistic career, Giacometti published a statement in the same year, referring directly to works like The Palace at 4 A.M. “For many years I have executed only sculptures that have presented themselves to my mind entirely completed. I have limited myself to reproducing them in space without changing anything, without asking myself what they could mean…. The attempts to which I have sometimes given way, of conscious realization of a picture or even a sculpture, have always failed.”
Jon Kessler, The Palace at 4 a.m.
Via: Art from the Future