Alberto Giacometti's 1934 Cube stands apart for many as a typical of the Swiss artist, the only abstract sculptural work in a wide oeuvre that otherwise had as its objective the exploration of reality. With The Cube and the Face, rewned French art historian and philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman has conducted a careful analysis of Cube, consulting the artist's sketches, etchings, texts, and other sculptural works in the years just before and after Cube was created. Cube, he finds, is indeed exceptional - a work without clear stylistic kinship to the works that came before or after it. At the same time, Didi-Huberman shows, Cube marks the transition between the artist's surrealist and realist phases and contains many elements of Giacometti's aesthetic consciousness, including his interest in dimensionality, the relation of the body to geometry, and the portrait - or what Didi-Huberman terms abstract anthropomorphism. Drawing on Freud, Bataille, Leiris, and others whom Giacometti counted as influences, Didi-Huberman presents fans and collectors of Giacometti's art with a new approach to transitional work.
Georges Didi-Huberman is professor at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales in Paris. He is the author of more than thirty books on the history and theory of images, including Images in Spite of All, published by the University of Chicago Press.