User account

Georges Didi-Huberman, Mira Fliescher (ed.), ...: The Cube and the Face

Georges Didi-Huberman, Mira Fliescher (ed.), Elena Vogman (ed.)

The Cube and the Face
Around a Sculpture by Alberto Giacometti

Translated by Shane Lillis

with an afterword by Mira Fliescher and Elena Vogman

Softcover, 248 pages

PDF, 248 pages

Around a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti’s 1934 Cube stands apart for many as atypical 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, renowned 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.

  • 9–10


  • 11–14

    Buried Face

  • 15–23

    Face of the Orientation that Cannot Be Found

  • 25–35

    Face of the Drawing that Seeks its Volume

  • 37–41

    Face of the Cage and the Transparent Crystal

  • 43–48

    Face of the Bodies that Come Apart

  • 49–62

    Face of the Impossible Dimension

  • 63–85

    Face of the Dead Heads

  • 87–101

    Lost Face, Face of the Father

  • 103–121

    Face of Opacity and the Blind Crystal

  • 123–131

    Face of Shadow and Spacing

  • 133–136

    Melancholic Face

  • 137–145

    Face of the Drawing that Seeks its Notch

  • 147–156

    Face for Finishing with the Object

  • 157–198

    Buried Face

  • 199–224


  • 225–245

    In the Face of the Unface

  • 247


  • surrealism
  • sculpture
  • face
  • abstract art
  • art history
  • art theory
  • melancholy
  • Alberto Giacometti

“A spiral-shaped investigation of Giacometti’s work revolving around various readings of one of his sculptures … Didi-Huberman exploits the formal presence of Cube to construct a metaphoric and polyphonic interplay of critical facets which allows him to engage with a range of Giacometti’s aesthetical investigations.” Timothy Mathews, excerpt from Alberto Giacometti: The Art of Relation.

My language

Selected content

Georges Didi-Huberman

Georges Didi-Huberman

is a leading French art historian, philosopher and has taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) since 1990. He has published extensively on the history and theory of images, from the Renaissance to contemporary art. In 2020, he was awarded the Aby Warburg Prize of the City of Hamburg.

Other texts by Georges Didi-Huberman for DIAPHANES
Mira Fliescher

Mira Fliescher

studied Art History, Cinema and TV-Studies and Philosophy at Ruhr-University Bochum. After being a doctoral researcher at the DFG research training group ›Identity and Difference‹ at Trier University she finished her PhD thesis about »Signatures of Alterity« at the Brunswick University of Art. 2011–2013 she was a postdoctoral researcher at the DFG research training group ›Visibility and Visualisation. Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge‹ at Potsdam. Her research is about aesthetic thinking, Drawing/Distortions (Verzeichnungen), signatures, theories of authorship, alterity, visual thinking.

Other texts by Mira Fliescher for DIAPHANES
Elena Vogman

Elena Vogman

is an author, scholar of comparative literature and media, and curator. She wrote her dissertation on “Sensuous Thinking: Eisenstein’s Eccentric Method” and held postdoctoral research positions in the DFG-project “Rhythm and Projection” at the Institute of General and Comparative Literature at Free University in Berlin and at IKKM, Bauhaus University, Weimar. She currently teaches Media History and Theory at the Art Academy Berlin Weißensee and is working on a new project titled “Madness, Media, Milieus: Reconfiguring the Humanities in Postwar Europe.” She has published numerous articles on forms of visual thinking and montage, anthropology of rhythm and media, and milieus in practices of Institutional Psychotherapy. Together with Marie Rebecchi she curated the exhibition on “Sergei Eisenstein: The Anthropology of Rhythm” at Nomas Foundation, Rome.

Other texts by Elena Vogman for DIAPHANES