John Baldessari Giacometti Variations at the Fondazione Prada, Milano

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For John Baldessari's collaboration with curator Germano Celant and the Fondazione Prada, Milano, the artist conceived the Giacometti Variations. The work's monumental scale fulfills a longstanding wish to “do tall paintings and sculptures." Though fashion may seem to be new territory for the artist, much of Baldessari’s work in photography of the past several decades manifests a knowing engagement with the psychology of appearance and style. He covers the human faces in his appropriated photographs with colored discs, he says, because they convey too much; when faces are concealed, viewers are forced to pay attention to surroundings, pose, and body language. Clothing is yet another visual cue, and it is explored here, in Baldessari’s trademark vibrant hues, to exaggerated and often humorous or dramatic ends. The sculptures are almost identical, but the addition of a few sartorial touches—from the comedy of a massive clown shoe, to the Surrealist flourish of floor-length golden braids and a ladder, to the opulence of a fuchsia bow in duchess satin—renders each unique.
The above Italian language video offers a walkthrough of the installation.