Giacometti's large-scale, anatomically complete yet highly stylized female figure balances on a cagelike throne, which, together with the slablike board covering her shins, both supports and restricts her movement. The figure's hands, positioned as if holding or offering something, are empty, as confirmed by the work's title. Giacometti modeled the figure's head and face after a protective metal mask found at a Paris flea market he visited with Surrealist leader André Breton. Breton held that every desire has a distinctive object that chance would deliver. However, Invisible Object (Hands Holding the Void)—Giacometti's last major work made within the orbit of Surrealism—evokes a lost object, forever sought and never recovered.
Gallery label from The Erotic Object: Surrealist Sculpture from the Collection, June 24, 2009–January 4, 2010.
This highly stylized figure balances on a cagelike throne which, together with the pillory–like board covering her shins, simultaneously supports and restrains her from movement. Her hands, positioned as if holding or offering something, hold nothing, as suggested by the work’s title. Giacometti modeled the figure’s head and face after a protective metal mask. This is Giacometti’s first large–scale, anatomically complete human figure, and his last major work made within the orbit of Surrealism.
Gallery label from 2006.